Quaker Other Food Reviews
Quaker Seasons Caribbean Chicken
When it comes to quick snacks I have a raging sweet tooth...choccie, biscuits, ice cream, cereal bars...anything really, just as long as it's got sugar content! Occasionally, I find that savoury is in my thoughts and I'll buy crisps to satisfy that particular craving...but sometimes, I just fancy trying something a bit different for a ... change. Which is how I came across Quaker Seasons.
Quaker Seasons are a range of mini crispbreads which are designed to target the "growing trend for healthier snacking" because they are oven baked instead of being fried. According to Quaker, the fact that they are made with high oleic sunflower oil makes them low in saturated fat but doesn't compromise the taste. Available in five flavours there is sure to be one that takes your fancy, the slightly more traditional varieties being Cheese, Onion & Chives, Salt & cracked Black Pepper, Honey Roast Ham and Tomato & Basil. I found myself wanting to try the rather more adventurous Caribbean Chicken flavour. With the Quaker promise "Uncompromisingly tasty crispbread snacks" firmly planted in my mind I was sure these were going to be very nice.
~ PACKAGING ~
Now I'm not going to go into a full blown description as to what the pack looks like (logo positioned here, text in big italic lettering over there, pretty picture at the bottom etc etc) but I will say that the overall appearance of the range is actually quite smart. A heavy, black background colour makes the packets stand out and perhaps suggests a classy and even quite high quality, premium snack. And dare I say it, possibly even verging on the 'exotic'.
Considering the nature of the product and it being promoted as a healthy snack, this choice of colouring surprises me. When you think about other low fat ranges and healthy options that are available, you often find that the packaging is lightly coloured and fresh looking to emphasize the 'light' content. Seasons are therefore different in that respect...perhaps Quaker have used a cunning suggestive technique to show the consumer that although this is a healthier alternative to some other snacks, it is still substantial with plenty of taste. This could even be why I was attracted to them in the first place!
~ APPEARANCE ~
My first thought on opening the 28g packet (after the smell had hit me!) was just how many you actually get in the bag. I find that some crisp packets are full of air with a few measly crisps right at the bottom, most of which are shattered. I was pleasantly surprised by the contents of my Seasons - roughly two thirds full and not a broken crispbread in sight.
The crispbreads themselves look rather appetising...a light golden snack, evenly coated with plenty of orange coloured flavouring and also including an adequate sprinkling of dried herbs on the surface.
Each bite sized crispbread is quite small and thin (approximately 4cm x 3cm in size) and in my opinion, the perfect size to sit nicely on the tongue.
As I've already hinted, you can't possibly ignore the smell of this product! As soon as you open the packet your nostrils are greeted by a sweet yet spicy aroma which suggests a pleasant curry or Oriental style offering. The smell seems to be somewhat 'warm' if that's possible! I can't detect any chicken in amongst the fragrances but the mango and chillies are quite obviously apparent and successfully achieve the temptation of my tastebuds.
~ TEXTURE ~
There is always a danger that snacks such as crispbreads can be a bit dry and sometimes difficult to eat but Seasons are just perfect in their wafer like texture. Foil sealed packs help to retain the freshness and I find them to be delicately crisp and very light, yet you still get a satisfying crunch when you bite into one.
If you prefer to savour the moment that bit longer you can place them on your tongue and feel them as they start to dissolve, slowly melting in your mouth with a slight delicate crackle and releasing the delightful flavours...
~ TASTE ~
My first opinions regarding taste are different to what I originally expected when I purchased the product. I was hoping that they would be tasty but you never know until you've tried them for yourself. I can honestly say that Quaker are correct in their claims - the taste hasn't been compromised in the creation of this 'healthy' savoury snack. They are by no means a bland and boring crispbread. No, absolutely not - they are bursting with flavour. A flavour which almost reminds me of a Thai Sweet Chilli. There's a rich, fruity element provided by the mango (keeping my sweet tooth happy!) followed by a spicy after bite that gives a bit of a kick. A warm feeling is created in your mouth after the initial taste explosion...aswell as a tingling tongue!
The herbs and spices blend together perfectly...coriander, cayenne, mustard, cumin, garlic, nutmeg, cardamon, ginger...and all are complimented by an underlying taste of what seems like tomato (although tomato isn't actually mentioned in the ingredients!). The overall flavour is relatively mild but may not be suitable for everyone. I know my mum wouldn't like these as she isn't a fan of anything even remotely spicy...but then my two year old son loves them so they can't possibly be that strong on his delicate little tongue!
The strength of the flavouring does result in an after-taste that lasts for quite a while after consumption, although it's not particularly unpleasant. Be prepared for smelly breath though...oh, and those dried herbs have a tendency to stick between your teeth so don't forget to check in the mirror when you've finished!
You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned chicken in relation to the taste. The Caribbean Chicken flavour is described on the pack as a "subtle blend of Caribbean spices and sweet mango". So we've suddenly lost all mention of the chicken that the main title suggests! And I've got to admit, I can't actually taste any chicken either. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the herbs and spices are quite strong. Is the chicken simply being overpowered? I'm not really bothered to be honest though as I adore the flavour as it is. But any fans of chicken flavoured products may find that they're sorely disappointed by this particular 'chicken' treat.
~ NUTRITION ~
As usual, a table containing the nutrition details can be found on the back of the packet. A quick reference panel is also featured on the front of the bag to assist consumers in their increasing health awareness. For those who would like to know...
Calories - 118
Sugar - 2.2g
Fat - 2.5g
Saturates - 0.4g
Salt - 0.5g
Looking at the nutritional information it is quite clear that this product is definitely a more healthier option than conventional crisps. With less than 10 percent fat (of which very little is saturated) I don't feel guilty indulging in these savoury snacks. There are no artificial colours included as the orange coloured coating I mentioned earlier is extracted from paprika. The packet also tells me that this product is suitable for coeliacs too...although not for vegetarians due to the chicken content, which is chicken powder, by the way. So it does actually exist!
Other ingredients include maize, potato granules, rice and sunflower oil, aswell as the herbs and spice extracts, a few unpronounceables and lastly, sugar and salt.
~ PRICE ~
Quaker Seasons are a little bit more expensive than crisps as they cost roughly 38p per single packet (in Tesco). They are also available in multipacks of four which offer a slight saving and I believe 120g sharing bags can be found.
I don't mind paying that little bit extra for a packet of Seasons as I think they are a tasty, satisfying snack...seasoned to perfection!
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Quaker Oats Muesli
This has 173 calories per 50g serving (without milk), with 2.5f fat, 0.5g of which are saturates. This also has 7g of sugar and trace levels of salt. The box describes “Kilned oats, wheat flakes, fruit and nuts with no added sugar or salt.” I brought this because I like Muesli, it’s really filling and healthy, and ... if you get the right one, it’s really flavourful and more-ish. I ate this with skimmed milk (personal preference), but found it pretty dry and bland. According to the box, this is supposed to contain raisins, sultanas, dates and sliced hazelnuts, but I wasn’t too impressed with the amount of fruit in my bowl. I did shake the packet a bit as I know the contents are prone to settling during transit, but looking through the cereal box, there didn’t seem to be much fruit or nuts in there at all. This was really filling though, but at £1.99 for a 600g box from Tesco, I wouldn’t really recommend this. There are healthy alternatives such as Muesli out there that do taste really good, and don’t have any added salt or sugar, so I wouldn’t be put off by this review of Quaker Oats Muesli because this was just one of the few brands that isn’t tasty.
Oats are a great source of wholegrain, which is good because by the time we are 35, 1 in 2 of us has high cholesterol. Oats contain a soluble fibre called Beta-Glucan, which helps to reduce cholesterol and in turn, helps to maintain a healthy heart. In my opinion, when looking at cereals, it is really easy to get distracted by the pretty colours and cartoon animals on the packet, but these are not always good for us. I always try to look for cereals with no artificial colours, flavourings or preservatives, so that I know I am eating well and giving my daughter a healthy, nutritious meal. I will continue to look for a Muesli that doesn’t taste of cardboard and let you know when I find it!!
I originally submitted this recipe to www.yummyfood.net
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Quaker Seasons Caribbean Chicken
I have a savoury tooth, rather than a sweet tooth, which means that I love salty, fatty, carbohydrate packed foods. As I try to keep an eye on my salt, fat and carbohydrate levels, this can be profoundly depressing. I am always keen to try new products that will satisfy the crave without too many of the nasties. That said, I ... had decided to avoid Quaker Seasons for life after their terrible advertising campaign (the one with the cowboys who come over to protect their crisp sales….. eeech!). However, I was at the store deciding what to have for lunch and these were the only things that looked remotely likely to fulfil my standards. And so, 49 pence poorer, I sit at my computer and compose this review. I have purchased the Caribbean Chicken flavour.
These come in a 28 gram packet. The packet is quite small (hardly surprising given it's only 28g) - sort of the size in the multi-packs of crisps. The packet is black with a large yellow circle with the "Seasons" name in large white letters across the middle. They are described as "uncompromisingly tasty crispbread snacks" and are professed to be "baked not fired, less than 10% fat." There is a picture of 2 individual snacks, next to a mango (which at first glance looks more like an apple) and a small pile of red spice. The proportions of the photograph make it look as though each snack is the size of a mango, which it clearly isn't.
On the back you'll also find that these have no artificial colours. The "Caribbean chicken" flavour is described as a subtle blend of Caribbean spices and sweet mango. There is the usual nutritional information, ingredients and contact details.
One quibble - I couldn't read the expiry date. Presumably this is not a problem with a new product, but something they need to sort out.
On the inside
Inside you'll find a couple dozen (don't quote me - I didn't count!) crispbread snacks that look just like their picture. They measure around 4cm2 which sit nicely on the tongue, so each is a reasonable mouthful. They look just like a crispbread - a pale yellow colour with flecks of green. You can see the flavouring powder, which is much the same colour as the crispbread.
Well, my initial reaction was that they tasted much like a chicken crisp, only crispbread. They are certainly quite strongly flavoured (for those in the know about Australian junk food, these initially taste like Chicken Twisties).
They are mildly spiced with chilli, the effects of which build up as you munch your way through the pack. I wouldn't recommend these for those who can't tolerate spice at all, however it is relatively mild.
If you leave them on your tongue for a second or two longer however before chewing you can taste the mango and spices come out - it tastes like a mango and lime chutney. There are sweet and sour flavours, and some other spices - a hint of ginger, cumin and cardamom were what I could detect. There's some salt, but the spices and chilli hit you more than the salt.
It tastes natural rather than artificial, if you know what I mean - I can see someone being able to mix real spices in their kitchen at home and come up with this flavour - it's not all e-numbers and synthetic stuff.
Overall, it's a strong, but not overpowering, flavour, so you are aware you're eating more than just air.
These are not particularly filling, which is not surprising at only 28g. However, the strong flavour and the size of each crispbread does make you feel like you've eaten. I could easily have eaten another pack, and wish they came in larger sizes.
So, these could be useful if you need to kill your craving for flavour but are not going to put much of a dint in your hunger.
As always, these never read particularly well. Whilst there is an impressive list of herbs and spices, they also contain nasties including lactose, hydrolysed soya protein, msg and "flavouring"(!).
Per pack, they have 498 kJ (118 calories), 21.6 g carbohydrate (2.2 g is sugars) and 2.5g fat. In percentage terms, that's 77% carbs and 9.1% fat (1.3% saturates).
According to the packet they are suitable for coeliacs.
I'm not a calorie counter, so I've no idea if that's good or bad. My rule of thumb is that the fat content shouldn't hit double figures, so these fit my rule at least!
I'd eat these again, but they're not my ideal snack. They're a crispbread, so they're never going to have any real substance, and I like a little more substance (like a Chinese rice cracker). However they have proper flavour, which is more than can be said for many snacks.
Apparently you can also get these in Salt & Cracked Black Pepper, Cheese, Onion & Chives and Honey Roast Ham.
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Quaker Other Food
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