Merry Christmas

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Just a quick post to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. I hope that you have a fun packed and reaction free day. I’m have to confess to getting a little excited about the big day. This year we are the hosts doing all of the entertaining. I have had fun trying to accommodate those of us with a dairy free and gluten free diet. A one stop supermarket shop just wasn’t possible as I’m sure many of you share the same experience as this. It was much easier choosing some festive tea for the family to enjoy later in the afternoon. So here’s to a safe family free from Christmas.

Review of Lidl Pigs In Blankets Crisps

When I quickly popped into Lidl and saw their Christmas range at the end of aisle I decided to grab a packet of pigs in blankets. I was feeling optimistic so I decided to pick them up and check their ingredients. Sure enough they were suitable for a dairy free diet so I decided to have them as a naughty treat.

I liked the simple black and pink background with a picture of six pigs in blankets to the centre. You knew what sort of festive flavours you should be getting with these crisps. Onto the ingredients list there are no allergens highlighted on the ingredients list and there is no may contain warning.

On opening the packet I was greeted by a fairly strong aroma of what I would describe as bacon. This strengthened on my famous close up sniff test. The crisps themselves were of a good size and had a good scattering of flavouring on them and looked very inviting. On biting into the crisps a nice crisp crunch was noted. As for the flavour they tasted like delicious bacon crisps. They didn’t leave any greasy or powdery residual on my fingers.

So would I recommend these crisps? I Certainly would. I liked everything about these crisps from their inviting aroma though to their crunchy crisp texture. So thank you Lidl for producing a delicious packet of festive crisps.

Review of co-op Free From Mince Pies

It’s time for another mince pie review. I recently popped into my local co-op to get some last minute dinner and passed by the Christmas display selection. To my utter surprise I noticed their free from mince pies and next to their regular ones. As I had not tried these I accidentally placed them into my shopping basket to give them a try.

I liked the design of the packaging. It keeps to their simple free from range design but there is an addition of a pretty plate full of mince pies. I also like the addition of the clear window to the top. You can clearly see one of the mince pies inside. Onto the ingredients list egg is highlighted as an allergen. There is a may contain warning for nuts.

On opening the packaging I was greeted by a sweet aroma of what I would associate with fruit pies rather than a mince pie. The mince pies are of a good size. They are quiet pale looking in appearance and did not match the colour of that on the packaging. The top the pies have a sprinkling of sugar. The pastry looks slightly dry and becomes more compact towards the bottom of the pies. On checking underneath no soggy bottom was noted. It appeared dry I mean this in a nice way, and wasn’t greasy.

On biting into the mince pie I got an initial slight crunch from the sugar from the top. This was followed by slightly dry and compact pastry. It didn’t take long to discover the filling as it was certainly plentiful. It was worth the wait. It was slightly juicy and moist. The quantity of the filling was just right, you needed the generous amount to try and counteract the slight dryness and hard texture from the pastry. On a positive note I personally liked the subtle flavour from the spice that hit my taste buds.

So would I recommend these mince pies if you follow a dairy free, gluten free or a vegetarian diet? I’m afraid not. They have a nice Christmassy aroma but only once you bite into them but the pastry is dry and compact. The filling is very generous and tasty but this is lost by the texture of this pastry to these pies. Sorry co-op but these mince pies just weren’t for me.

Review of Tesco’s Free From Spiced Pear Pies

This year I decided that I should make it my mission to start my Christmas reviews early. So when I discovered that Tesco’s had launched their Christmas free from range I had to pop in store and find out more. Sadly, a lot of the section was already out of stock. There were no mince pies or Christmas puddings but there were 2 boxes of spiced pear pies left. So I grabbed a box of the spiced pear pies to take home and try.

I liked the simplicity of the packaging and was drawn to its purple colour scheme. The pictures of the pear pies tease you and I just wanted to give them a try. Onto the ingredients the pies are clearly labelled as a free from product and are both gluten free and milk free. Therefore perfect for dairy free me. Egg is highlighted as an allergen in the ingredients list. There is a may contain warning for peanuts and nuts.

On opening the packaging I was greeted by an aroma that I associate with fruit pies. Nothing special if I’m honest. I was hoping for a spicy aroma that I associate with Christmas, maybe I am being a tad harsh. The pear pies the are a good size. To the top you have a slightly crunchy looking short crust pastry topped with a light dusting of sugar. This becomes thinner towards the bottom of the pies. On checking underneath no soggy bottom was noted. On biting into the pear pie I got a slight crunch followed by a light crumbliness from the pastry.  It didn’t take long to discover the filling. This was a combination of pears coated in a what I would describe as a lightly seasoned winter syrup. The fruit was crunchy and worked perfectly with the gluppy syrup encasing it. The flavour of the filling was delightful. It was slightly sweet from the syrup but this was nicely complimented from the winter seasoning. As for its quantity this spot on anymore would have resulted in a soggy pie. I couldn’t believe just how nice these pies were. A great alternative to the traditional mince pie.

So would I recommend these spiced pear pies if you follow a dairy free and or gluten free diet? Yes I would. They are a great alternative to a traditional mince pie. I loved everything about these pies from their flavour through to their texture. They exceeded my expectations. So thank you Tesco’s for producing a delicious sweet Christmas treat that I can enjoy.

Review of The Tea Leaf Co Gift Box

As a lady who loves her cups of tea I love Christmas as I often very lucky and receive tea related gifts. So when I was lucky enough to get the chance to review The Tea leaf Co gift set I couldn’t wait for the parcel to arrive. The gift set retails at £29.00 or you can purchase individual tins as a stocking filler for £4.99. The Tea Leaf Co was founded by two tea obsessed Brits and the son of an Indian tea planter. Their adventure begun over a cup of English Breakfast at a kitchen table that took them half way around the world to the tea fields of Nagaland. Farmers use traditional methods, so no nasty chemicals in the ground. Every leaf is handpicked and rolled with love and care.

(Photo credit Tea Leaf Co)
Onto the packaging if you purchase the gift set you get a black box containing a variety of four tins of tea with a measuring spoon. I received mine in a plain box with the tea and spoon wrapped up snuggly over two layers of tissue paper.

Onto the tea itself this is contained within four small silver round tins.They reminded me of an old-fashioned shoe polish tin, this may sound like a strange compassion but there you go. Each tin has the same nautical theme with the companies logo top the top and the name of the tea to the centre. Each type of tea has a colour which is subtly integrated into the design of the top of the tin.

Royal Rogues

I choose this tea first as it is one of my favourite teas. It is described as a refreshing, citrusy blend of Italian bergamot oil and hand-rolled single estate tea from the tea fields of Nagaland.

There are no allergens highlighted in the ingredients list, but there is a may contain warning for nuts.

On opening the tin I was greeted by a strong and very inviting citrus aroma, it reminded me of a quality bergamot which intensified on my close up sniff test.

I added freshly boiled water to the tea and infused as instructed. The aroma was as I had anticipated that being of a strong quality black tea with fairly strong undertones of bergamot noted. This intensified slightly on my famous close up sniff test. On sipping the tea it was fairly strong and well-balanced. I got the strong and rich bodied flavour from the black tea intermingled with the fairly strong yet not overpowering slightly citrus undertones from the bergamot. The bergamot broke down the strong rich bodied flavour from the black tea to just the right amount. I love a nice cup of traditional earl grey with no fancy added extras and this certainly ticked all of the right boxes. It had the perfect balance of both aroma and flavour that I associate with a nice earl grey. I would definitely recommend this tea.

No 05 Blood Orange Infusion

It is described as the exotic blood orange in this bright, tangy infusion packs a bold, sweet citrusy punch that’s as tart as it is sweet.

Onto the ingredients dried apple pieces, rosehip, hibiscus flowers orange peel. There is a may contain warning for nuts.

On opening the tin I immediately got hit by the delightful aroma from the orange. It was a little stronger than I had anticipated and slightly overpowered the aroma from the other ingredients from this tea.

I added freshly boiled water and infused the tea as instructed. The sage aroma intensified and was intermingled with the hibiscus. I was a little disappointed as I was unable to distinguish the apple or the rosehip elements to this tea even on my close up sniff test. On sipping the tea it tasted just like its aroma. The orange and hibiscus were quiet strong and seemed to drown out the apple and rosehip. I am afraid that I didn’t enjoy this tea. Whilst I loved the initial aroma from the orange the combination of this with the hibiscus impacted on the other elements to this tea. Yes it had a citrusy punch which was slightly tart but the sweetness that I had hoped for just didn’t happen. I’m afraid that I wouldn’t recommend this tea.

No 06 Simply Green

It is described as a timeless classic brew that’s incredibly intense, rich in flavour and mouth-watering in its softness.

Onto to the ingredients list green tea is listed. There is a may contain warning for nuts.

On opening the package I was greeted by a fairly strong aroma of a grassy meadow with subtle undertones of smokiness that I associate with green tea. This intensified slightly on my famous close up sniff test.

I placed the tea in my teacup and added my slightly cooled freshly boiled hot water. I left the tea to infuse with the hot water as instructed. The hot water soon changed to a light green colour. The aroma from the tea intensified only slightly even on my close up sniff test. On sipping the tea I was able to taste the subtle grassiness with the smokiness element intermingled with this. This flavour was slightly weaker than I had hoped due it’s strong aroma. However, this really didn’t matter the flavour from the tea was very subtle. This resulted in a nice light and refreshing green tea. I would describe as one of the most delicate ones that I have tried. I would certainly recommend this tea.

No 16 Green & Mint

It is described as a tongue-tingling mint fresh tea. We start with our Sir Lanka green tea as a base, then mix in just the right amount of cooling peppermint leaves to create a subtly refreshing tea experience.

Onto the ingredients list sadly the label on the back of the tin that contained this information was missing. As a result I could not see any allergens highlighted or any may contain warnings listed. I had to check on the companies website which was a little disappointing if I am honest. Green tea and peppermint is listed.

On opening the package I was greeted by a fairly strong aroma of a peppermint. This intensified slightly on my famous close up sniff test with subtle undertones of grassiness and smokiness noted.

I placed the tea in my teacup and added my slightly cooled freshly boiled hot water. I left the tea to infuse with the hot water as instructed. The hot water soon changed to a light yellow/green colour. The aroma from the tea intensified only slightly even on my close up sniff test. On sipping the tea my taste buds were immediately hit by the peppermint. This was fairly strong yet without being to overpowering. This was preceded by the subtle grassiness with the smokiness element intermingled with this. The peppermint was slightly weaker than I had hoped due it’s strong aroma. However, this really didn’t matter if it was any stronger it would have impacted on the subtle flavour from the green tea. This resulted in a nice light and refreshing green tea. I would describe it as one of the most delicate mint teas that I have tried. I would certainly recommend this tea.

I enjoyed the opportunity to try a selection of The Tea leaf co teas and made great use of the measuring spoon. I am sure that any tea fan would like to receive this gift box over Christmas. I would personally prefer one of the tins as a surprise in my Christmas stocking.

Disclaimer: I received a free sample of this tea to try and review. All of the opinions in this post are my own and honest.

 

Review of Tesco’s Finest Pigs in Blankets Crisps

I quickly Tesco’s to treat myself to some of their Christmas free from treats. I saw their Christmas range of crisps at the end of aisle and fell for the packet of pigs in blankets. I was feeling optimistic so I decided to pick them up and check their ingredients. Sure enough they were suitable for a dairy free diet so I decided to have them as a little treat as part of my lunch.

I liked the simple black and pink background with a picture of a four pigs in blankets to the bottom. You knew what sort of festive flavours you should be getting with these crisps. Onto the ingredients list there are no allergens highlighted on the ingredients list and there is no may contain warning. They are labelled as being suitable for vegetarians.

On opening the packet I was greeted by a fairly strong aroma of what I would describe as bacon. This strengthened on my famous close up sniff test. The crisps themselves were of a good size and had a good scattering of flavouring on them and looked slightly great in appearance. On biting into the crisps a nice crunch was noted. As for the flavour well if I am honest this was not what I expected. It tasted like bacon crisps that had too much flavour added to them. This was quiet rich and artificial tasting. In addition to the overpowering flavour they left with a slightly greasy and powdery residual on my fingers.

So would I recommend these crisps? I am afraid not. I just didn’t enjoy anything about these crisps from their overly artificial aroma though to their greasy and powdery residiual and their artificial flavour. Sorry Tesco’s but these crisps just weren’t for me.

Review of co-op puff mince pies with brandy

I know that it’s a tad early for a Christmas review but I decided to start very early this year. I popped into my local co-op to get some dinner and passed by the bakery section. My other half fancied doughnuts. Sadly, they were sold out. I noticed their puffed mince pies and as some of their bakery items are dairy free I thought that I would grab some on the of chance. As it turns out it was a good call to make.

I liked the simplicity of the packaging. You can clearly see the mince pies inside. There is a simple red label to the centre of the front of the packaging. There are two allergens highlighted on the ingredients list wheat and sulphur dioxide. There is no may contain warning.

On opening the packaging I was greeted by a sweet aroma of what I describe as sweet pastry and sweet mince meat. The mince pies are of a good size. To the top you have a flaky pastry topped with sprinkles of sugar. This becomes more compact towards the bottom of the pies. On checking underneath no soggy bottom was noted. It appeared dry I mean this in a nice way, and wasn’t greasy. On biting into the mince pie I got an initial crunch from the sugar from the top. This was followed by thin layers of nice light flaky pastry. It took a little while to discover the filling. It was worth the wait. It was slightly juicy and moist. There was a good quantity of fruit and I personally liked the subtle flavour from the spice that hit my taste buds. This helped break down the richness from the fruit and brandy. The quantity of the filling was just right otherwise it would have been too rich and impacted on the lightness of the pastry.


So would I recommend these mince pies if you follow a dairy free diet? Yes I would it is great to find a mince pie which is not in the free from range. I liked everything about these mince pies from the aroma through to the flavour and texture. So thank you co-op for producing a nice mince pie that I can enjoy.