Friday, 31 May 2013

Double Choccy Mini Muffins by The Fabulous Bakin' Boys

Any chocolate muffin said to be less than 70 calories each is rather inviting.

Check out my fancy woollen leggings from Hounslow!

Then I gave myself a face-palm after opening the box – of course they are less than 70 calories each, they are weeny!

Yeah, apparently my Macbook is now a plate.

Much shouldn't be expected from baked goods which come sealed, and aren't from the baking section. Well... sometimes, you can't expect much from the baking section either – I once had a triple chocolate muffin from Tesco's bakery shelf which tasted like charcoal. Never again.

Packaged baked goods tend to be too dry and boring, with standard shapes and sizes, and none of that rustic, hand-made-with-love, cracked-on-the-top-but-who-cares stuff.

The dryness is nothing to worry about in The Fabulous Bakin' Boys' Double Choccy Mini Muffins (£1 at ASDA, U.P £1.48) as they are filled with moist chocolate and delightful chocolate chips.

The muffin is fluffy and sweet, quite enjoyable, and one can finish it in two bites, or one if you're pushing it. They are moist and fudgey on the inside, and so small that you don't feel satisfied unless you eat three of them to make up a regular-sized muffin.

A good buy if you've got a last-minute party or gathering to plan, and haven't got time to bake.

Otherwise, why not just get proper cupcakes from the bakery, (if not Tesco, then Sainsbury's or Waitrose or something) or make some on your own?

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Fox's Chunkie Milk Chocolate Cookies

Fox's is a good biscuit/cookie brand, and I can usually count on them to provide me with a nice packet of cookies when I get a craving for something sweet. Um that is, like, everyday After all, they claim to have been around since 1853. Plus, their packaging is matte, and that always makes a difference for me. Matte packaging is always nicer, don't ask me why, I don't know.

When I bought this packet of cookies (offered at £1, U.P £1.79) from Tesco after school one day, I was ascertained that these would be unfailing and satisfactory.

The cookies are crunchy, and full of chocolate chips, and I'm happy for that.

However, what annoys me about the cookie (yes, apparently, cookies have the ability to annoy nowadays.) is the fact that there is a strong fragrance of coconut. I have no resentment towards coconut, but when I buy a packet of milk chocolate cookies, I want to eat a packet of milk chocolate cookies. Don't make me take a bite, raise my eyebrows, double-check the packaging, turn to the ingredients list, and find out that the dessicated coconut is not only giving the cookie its crunch, but also providing it with an evident coconut smell and taste.

I mean, they are nice cookies, but no thank you to the unexpected taste!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Masters Diner @ Covent Garden

Courtesy of Google

Masters Diner at Covent Garden is almost hidden, practically sharing a storefront with a newsagent and squeezing their doors side-by-side. My friend and I doubled back on the pavement and popped inside before noontime to take away a coffee (hot chocolate, in my case of a set of immature tastebuds) for our walk to Oxford Street before the ballet performance of La Bayadère at the Royal Opera House started.

Interested in the cosiness of the place and the buzzing, alluring kitchen behind the counter, we returned for a post-show lunch, if it can still be called 'lunch' at 4pm.

We were sat down by friendly staff, and picked up our menu from the side of the table, diner-style. The place serves burgers, club sandwiches, ciabatta, breakfast food, jacket potatoes, dessert cakes and pies, coffee, chocolate – the sort of food one would encounter fifty percent of the time in this country among eating places.

I ordered a Covent Garden Club sandwich, which was a toothpick-reinforced double-decker sandwich with regular white (rather flattened) toast, filled with lettuce, melted cheese, beef slices, mushrooms, mustard and mayonnaise. And not to forget the random topping of alfalfa sprouts on the top. I'm not particularly fond of mustard, so I quite regretted getting this sandwich.

The sandwich, which was warm and fresh, fell apart annoyingly easily like any other club sandwich. I rejoice when biting into burgers and sandwiches without accidentally pulling out all the filling with my teeth, so the tougher beef slices did not work well here. The amount of meat and veggies were pretty generous, which my hungry stomach was very grateful for.

I do love mayonnaise, but I had to use the toothpicks to scrape out as much as I could of the yellow, vile, stinging mustard. I remember spending ages staring at the menu and deciding what to get, by scrutinising the contents of each burger/sandwich to find a combination which I really like.

It's pretty phenomenal, what hunger can do to my common-sense.

The mushrooms were plump, juicy and a real treat, but were quite disconnected from the fillings and didn't go that well with the tough beef texture.

Master's Diner is obviously not somewhere you would travel halfway across the country for, but is definitely a life-saver if you're looking for a cheap, reliable eating place which serves a wide variety of hearty meals in the heart of Covent Garden.

Master's Diner
32 Henrietta St
020 7240 9266

Master's Diner on Urbanspoon

Monday, 20 May 2013

Graze #3

Click here for box #2.

As you can see, the sun is shining and spring is here! England had better not mess with me again and start snowing in the middle of June, or something.

So a new graze box arrived. And this was ages ago, I held out this post for a long time.

I took one look at this "Crunchini Basilico" punnet and thought: How annoying would it be if the oil spilled out onto my bed and clothes?

Guess what happened right after that.

I think the stain is still there on my shirt.

The crunchinis are, well, crunchy, and biscuit-like, with herby ingredients. The basil-infused oil was fragrant, and compliments the crunchini well.

There weren't a lot of these biscuits, though. But it is an alright savoury snack. Rated "Like".

I expected "Summer Pudding"to be really good, since it's just a representation of flavours and not the actual pudding.

 Fortunately, Graze has done well for this one. To get the full effect of the summer pudding flavour, I used a spoon to scoop up all the bits, getting the myriad of tastes in one mouthful.

You get sweet, yoghurt-coated sunflower seeds, flavourful sponge biscuit buttons, black currants and cranberries. Altogether, they are sweet, tangy and refreshing. Rated "Love".

Graze has done all they possibly can to this brownie to make it marginally healthier than a regular brownie. As a result, the brownie has the texture of a light cake, is less sweet, but still tasty with the generous amounts of chopped hazelnuts.

Fine, the three of you are 129 calories in total, but I could eat a basket of strawberries for that amount of calories, and still get my sweet craving satisfied. If I'm going to have a brownie, I'd much rather go all-out and get a large slab of dense, barely-baked, fudgy brownie. Rated "Like".

An interesting attempt by Graze. These are crispy noodle bits, peanuts and beans seasoned with something rather salty, and chilli powder.

Good flavours but requested not to send again, because it makes me thirsty – a little too much salt and seasoning to eat all in one go.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Cadbury Wispa Hot Chocolate Drink

I received this as an Easter gift (yes I know, this post has rolled under the bed and gathered dust and crumbs for a little while) from my homestay hosts, as they know how much I love chocolate.

In Singapore, Milo is the breakfast drink for kids and teenagers – it is a chocolate and malt drink, ubiquitous in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, but is also available in some other parts of the world. (100 points for specificity!) I used to have it every morning, and sometimes in the afternoon as well, chilled with ice cubes. Milo is also served in eating places, and has developed into all sorts of different desserts.

But enough about Milo, because hot chocolate has taken its place in my heart.

After having hot chocolate almost every morning while in London, I went back to Singapore during term break, had a cup of Milo, and, no sir, something had changed in that relationship. I found my tastebuds craving something more than a diluted, malt taste with only a tinge of chocolate.

As good as hot chocolate goes, my favourite powdered milk chocolate drink would be by Waitrose Essential. It is £1.58 per 400g glass jar, and very chocolate-y and delicious. Galaxy's hot chocolate is nothing. It is a little on the bitter side, and unimpressive in general.

Waitrose's chocolate drink powder may be my favourite, but Cadbury's Wispa comes pretty damn close. They both have a rich and sweet chocolate taste, but Wispa boasts an additional feature – frothy bubbles.

The jar of 246g costs £2.79 (Tesco), and contains some carbon-dioxide related ingredient (again, 100 points for detailed description!) within the powder to create a frothy layer which rests on top of the drink.

The powder fizzes audibly when water is poured onto it, and a fair amount of bubbles rise instantly, so pouring becomes careful business, while you gotta ensure that the drink doesn't overflow. This frothy layer really makes a difference to the overall experience of the drink, and is also quite fun to scoop out and eat, if you are a weirdo like me. However, the bubbles don't stay forever, and will dissipate eventually, so drink it up!

If you're getting bored of having the same old drink for breakfast, why not try Wispa's Instant Hot Chocolate for a change? Unless you despise chocolate (what are you even doing on this blog?) you are bound to love this drink!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Weetabix Apple Breakfast Biscuits

I'm becoming quite trusting of the apple and cinnamon combination. Almost always, the flavour turns out right, often pulling off a killer combo in crumble, ice cream and cake.

The first type of 'breakfast biscuits' I ever had were Belvita's honey and oat biscuits, which I absolutely love.

Weetabix has a similar type of biscuit, which I bought at a corner shop for 39p. Each pack has a plastic container of 4 biscuits. The container is quite annoying to meddle with to remove a biscuit, as there is no space for a finger to slot in.

The biscuits have a lovely, hearty taste, which warms up in your mouth. There is a great balance of apple and cinnamon flavours, but they are mild yet noticeable, which gives way to the wheat-y base. The biscuits are dense and crunchy, and they melt in your mouth.

The thing about breakfast biscuits is that they are rarely eaten during breakfast. At least in the case of my friends and I, anyway. We bring them to school and have them for a snack. Eighty percent of the time, I plan to do that, but end up finishing them while sitting on my desk at home. (They are really addictive and moreish!)

Biscuits are biscuits, and they'll be treated like biscuits, even if they're meant for a certain time of the day.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Cybercandy | Part Two

Click here for part one.

Moving on, we are faced with a variation of the peanut butter cup by Megaload, which is filled with caramel instead of peanut butter. (£1.15)

From left to right, the caramel cups are topped with Almond 'Buttercrunch', Candy-coated chocolate pieces, and Peanut 'Buttercrunch'. Not as interesting and original as the combination before, with their peanut butter cups. The m&ms are here again, between two very similar-looking 'buttercrunch' variations. This pack doesn't get me as excited as the peanut butter cups. I mean, two out of three of those were slapped on the top with a whole cookie!

The caramel was runny and smooth, and the cup reminded me of a Cadbury Caramello Koala.

There was nothing very special about it taste-wise, but it sure looked pretty as I ate it.

I couldn't tell the difference between the next two. Because the chocolate and caramel combination is already very strong for the tastebuds, the pathetic brittle (almond buttercrunch above, peanut buttercrunch below) doesn't do anything, and it felt like their purpose was unserved.

Likewise, these caramel cups are pretty and unique, and make great gifts. (i.e. pop some into my letterbox please, I wouldn't mind)

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Treats (£1.29) is a snack bar variation of the original Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, much like the Lucky Charms Treats bar. 

My friend, Esther, and I sitting in the middle of Piccadilly Circus on a sunny day, taking pictures and enjoying the weekend. Sometimes, you have no choice but to enjoy yourself in London so much.
We watched La Bayadère at the Royal Opera House and ate lunch at Master's Diner at 4pm in the evening. We even had two minibons from Cinnabon at Piccadilly Circus. No regrets!

American cereal-ness was definitely noticeable here. It took me a long time to recognise the cinnamon taste, because most of it was just sweetness. The yogurt base was really good, and the bar was huge, tasty, and satisfying.

This was the elephant of my purchase, the main act of the variety show.

Oreo Os were the highlight of my childhood. The journey these blue boxes made from the supermarket shelves, into the multi-purpose (yes, hanging on to the handles and riding on it IS a purpose) transportation vehicle of The Trolley, momentarily hidden in one of the many white NTUC plastic bags like a cursed shell game, tucked out of reach in the cupboard, and magically appearing in a bowl the next morning next to a carton of PURA milk – all of this was ritualistic and sacred, and I treasured every aspect of these events up until the woeful year of 2007, when Post stopped producing these Oreo Os.

Where else am I going to get the best cereal marshmallows in the world? Where else am I going to get cereal which tastes like freaking OREOS?

At Cybercandy (Islington) for £6.99, it seems, with a Korean title. I cry a little, but I think about that fact that a) it is the only one of its kind, b) I can earn it back by working at my library for an hour, and c) it tastes like Oreos.

The black, crispy O's are filled with the taste of Oreo biscuits, and speckled with white bits of the stuff present in the original sandwich cookies.

Among the O's are similar-sized, sweet marshmallow circles, which have the best melt-in-your mouth feel one you get past their delicate, icing-like texture.

Like how you dunk Oreos in milk, this moreish cereal also goes well in a bowl with milk. The deep flavour of the O's is complimented so well by the milk, but don't expect any special taste in the leftover milk. You can have Oreo O's in a bowl with milk, you can have it in a box with a spoon in hand – I just wish you could have it for under £3 a box from the local supermarkets. Sam I am.
The Butterfinger (£1.19) is a famous American chocolate bar filled with dense peanut butter flakes, coated with chocolate. It is longer than the average chocolate bar, and rather heavy too. The flaky, puff-pastry like texture was rather unusual, and the peanut butter and sugar filling stuck to my teeth pretty severely. Not something I would buy again, but it was alright.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Fox's Viennese Melts

I brought these back to Singapore in my suitcase for a visit during the winter of 2012 along with all the other packaged British treats, because they were more than worthy to cross oceans the Asian continent for 13 hours for my friends and family to try.

Don't know why this picture looks as if it has been dipped in a bloodbath.

Luxurious is the word to describe it. Fox's Raspberry & Cream Viennese Melts (£1.59) are decadent.

The buttery biscuits crumble so softly and wonderfully as you bite into them, and lead you politely (my imagery is on crack today) to the filling within, which is made of raspberry jam and vanilla-flavoured cream. Red berries and cream are a popular British combination which works very well together, like maple and pecan nuts, or cookies and cream, or chocolate and hazelnuts, or Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

I might even go out to get a another packet after this.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Uncle Lim's Kitchen

Oh look, an Asian restaurant whose name has nothing to do with the oriental nickname of table tennis, a bloody dragon, golden-something, and doesn't claim to be some royal moon legend king of Sichuan and dumpling village.

Me? A problem with unoriginal, stereotypical Chinese restaurant names? No...

I was, however, comforted by the fact that this Malaysian eating place had a name close to home: Uncle Lim's. In Southeast Asia, most particularly in Singapore and Malaysia, middle-aged to elderly men can be addressed as 'uncle', even if they are not a sibling of your parent. You can approach a 60-something year old man for $1 ice cream and greet him as 'uncle'.

When you go into a place with a name like 'Golden Dragon', you expect food which tastes unauthentic and mediocre, just like its unoriginal name. (Having said that, I've never eaten at Golden Dragon, so I can't judge just yet, but I'm already turned off anyway.) When you go to a Malaysian canteen-style eating place called 'Uncle Lim's', you are like, hey, I feel like I know this Uncle Lim guy already, and I'm going to see a balding, aproned Chinese man take my order with a smile and a familiar slang.

Maybe my expectations were a little high, as I had my order taken by one of two caucasian ladies who were standing behind the steaming trays of various meat and vegetable dishes, which were choices for meal deals which come with steamed rice or noodles.

I shared a plate of Hainanese Chicken Rice (£5) with a friend, as the portions are said to be huge, and they were indeed. The dish was served with steamed chicken, cucumbers, tomatoes, and  fragrant rice cooked with chicken broth. For chicken rice so far from home, they really have managed to get the correct taste of both the rice and the tender chicken, plus the black sauce drizzled on top. Five more gold stars for the extra large portion as well. The only thing I was sceptical about was the fact that the skin on the chicken was yellow – quite a scary yellow. However, I did some research, and it appears that yellow-skinned chicken is corn-fed, and therefore extra tasty.

I'm definitely going to return to Uncle Lim's one day, to try their famed Char Kway Teow, (stir-fried, flat and broad rice noodles) and the mixed rice/noodle dishes. It is a good fix for a hometown-food-craving, with great value and a decent variety.

Uncle Lim's Kitchen (Croydon)
The Whitgift Centre (top floor)
Wellesley Rd
Greater London
020 8688 6378

Uncle Lim's Kitchen on Urbanspoon
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