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keeperofthematri

keeperofthematri
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Member since: 19.05.2009

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      23.11.2010 08:30
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      Creamy Sauce That Doesn't Taste Of Cheese Or Ham

      Boyfriend was working late last night so, as Potato Bake takes an hour to cook in the oven I'd thought I'd do that and catch up with Sunday's episode of "Garrow's Law" on BBC Iplayer whilst it was cooking. Who says men can't multi-task!?


      Packaging:

      The sauce comes in a standard glass jar with a screw top lid. The label covers around one third of the jar and has the Homepride logo and the front along with a "no need to boil potatoes" badge. We're also told that this sauce contains no artificial colours or flavours. The rest of the label contains the ingredients, nutritional information, cooking information and the contact details for HL Foods who are the owners of the Homepride brand.

      You can visit the website at: www.homepride.co.uk

      The product is described as:- "A deliciously creamy Potato Bake sauce made with cheese and ham"


      Nutritional Information per 100g {per 1/4 jar: 125g}:

      Energy kJ: 427kJ {534}
      kcal: 103kcal {129kcal}
      Protein: 1.5g {1.9g}
      Carbohydrate: 3.8g {4.8g}
      of which sugars: 1.2g {1.5g}
      Fat: 9.1g {11.4g}
      of which saturates: 1.4g {1.8g}
      Fibre: 0.6g {0.8g}
      Sodium: 0.44g {0.55g}
      Salt Equivalent: 1.10g {1.38g}


      Ingredients: Water, Vegetable Oil, Onion, Ham With Milk Proteins (3%), [Pork, Water, Salt, Citric Acid, Milk Lactose, Glucose Syrup, Milk Proteins, Flavouring, Dextrose, Antioxidant (Sodium L-Ascorbate), Preservative (Sodium Nitrate)], Modified Maize Starch, Double Cream, Salt, Dried Egg Yolk, Sugar, Flavourings, Cheese Powder (0.5%), Stabiliser (Xanthan Gum), Mustard Powder, Garlic Powder, Spirit Vinegar, Yeast, Wheat Flour, Yeast Extract, Ground Nutmeg, Glucose Syrup, Black Pepper, Colour (Beta Carotene), Red Peppers, Onion Powder, Turmeric, Maltodextrin, Natural Flavouring, Onion Extract.


      Allergy Information:

      The product contains milk, wheat, gluten and mustard


      Price:

      At time of writing these sauces cost around £1.42 for one jar. Asda are currently charging 71p per jar.


      Taste and opinion:

      Potato bake isn't something that I do very often. In fact this is only the second time I've made it after a slightly less than satisfying meal courtesy of Homepride's Garlic and Herb Potato Bake that I reviewed back in May. So, here goes with the creamy cheese and ham flavour.

      As with the Garlic and Herb the preparation is very easy. Just peal and slice the potato and put them in layers in a dish with the sauce. You don't even have to cook them beforehand. Very simple.

      Opening the jar I could smell a faint aroma of something. I'm not entirely sure what it is but it's certainly not a meaty smell that could be the ham nor is it particularly cheese-like. Given the ingredients listed above it's more than likely some combination of the things used to flavour the sauce. I can see bits of pink meat in the sauce which is obviously the ham. There doesn't actually look to be a great deal of it so I'm feeling a bit dubious to what extent I'll be able to taste it when it's cooked. The recipe recommends cooking this sauce for 50 minutes, taking it out of the oven, adding some cheese and then returning to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
      Obviously whatever cheese you add is liable to affect that taste of the product so I've decided not to add any cheese whatsoever and just sample it as it comes for the purpose of this Dooyoo review.

      The sauce itself is quite thick and the last remnants need to be got out of the jar with a spoon. Even so there is still quite a bit on the sides of the jar. I place a small amount of milk into the jar, replace the lid and shake it up and down to try and clear the jar of as much of the sauce as possible. Removing the lid, I pour the liquid into the casserole dish with the rest of the sauce and place it in the oven.

      Tastewise I have to say that I'm not really that impressed with this. As I suspected there doesn't appear to be an awful lot of ham in the sauce at all and what there is is fairly tasteless. The bits of ham are really quite small so you can swallow them without even noticing that they're there.

      It doesn't even taste of cheese either. There's no overwhelming taste that you can put your finger on at all and say "that's what it tastes like". It is relatively thick and quite creamy and there's a slight edge to it which may come from the vinegar, onion, turmeric or a number of other ingredients but calling it "Creamy Cheese and Ham" is really stretching things a little too far. "Double Cream Sauce With A Hint Of Vinegar" would perhaps be more appropriate.

      So, if you're looking for something that "does what it says on the tin (jar)" then you're going to be sadly disappointed with this sauce as the taste of the cheese and ham is conspicuous by its absence. If, however, you're the sort of person that doesn't like strong odours and is looking for a creamy sauce with a slight edge to it then look no further than this.

      Please remember that I didn't add any cheese to this sauce, and therefore didn't follow the cooking instructions to the letter. Adding your own cheese may well improve the taste experience of the sauce, but that, of course, may well depend on the type of cheese used.

      On the nutritional front this does have just over 9% fat which is fairly high compared to some of the other sauces on the market.

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      22.11.2010 08:17
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      One of Mr. Kipling's nicer products

      I spotted these on a display in Morrisons at the weekend and, as I hadn't tried them before, thought I'd see what they were like.


      Packaging:

      The slices comes are packed in a plastic tray which, in turn is packed in an outer paper carton. The carton is recyclable & is predominantly red and a pinky-purple in colour. It would appear that the design has changed since Dooyoo added the picture. The "Mr. Kipling" logo is on the front, along with the name & a picture of one of the slices and a snowy Christmas scene to make things look a bit more festive. The back of the carton lists the ingredients, allergy advice, nutritional information & the Mr. Kipling's quality guarantee. There is also a picture of Mr. Kipling's Angel Slices.

      The website address is:- www.mrkipling.co.uk

      and the product is described as:- "Raisin (21%) and rum (2%) sponge layered with caramel (22%) and topped with a chocolate flavoured coating (11%).



      Ingredients: Raisins, Sugar, Wheat Flour, Vegetable Margarine (Vegetable Oil, Salt), Chocolate Flavoured Coating (Sugar, Vegetable Fat, Skimmed Milk Powder, Cocoa Powder, Whey Powder, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Flavouring), Glucose Syrup, Reconstituted Egg, Brown Sugar, Invert Sugar Syrup, Humectant (Vegetable Glycerine), Salted Butter, Sweetened Condensed Skimmed Milk, Dark Rum (contains colour: Plain Caramel), Alcohol, Caramelised Sugar Syrup, Flavouring, Emulsifiers (Mono and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids), Raising Agents (Disodium Diphosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate, Sulphur Dioxide), Flavouring (contains Milk), Stabiliser (Xanthan Gum), Salt.


      Nutritional Information per slice {per 100g in brackets}

      Energy kJ: 625kJ {1632kJ}
      Calories: 149 kcal {388 kcal}
      Protein: 1.1g {2.8g}
      Carbohydrate: 22.7g {59.2g}
      of which sugars: 17.9g {46.7g}
      Fat: 6.0g {15.6g}
      of which saturates: 3.1g {8.1g}
      Fibre: 0.3g {0.9g}
      Sodium: 0.09g {0.22g}
      - equivalent as salt: 0.23g {0.55g}

      Dietary & Allergy Information

      Contains: gluten (wheat), egg, milk, soya and sulphites.
      May contain nut traces.


      These slices are suitable for vegetarians. They contain no artificial colour or flavours and no hydrogenated fat.


      The Slices:

      Like many other Mr. Kipling's product these Rum & Raisin Slices are wrapped in pairs in a little tray which is covered in plastic film. So, there's still an issue with the air getting to the second slice once you've removed the plastic film. The outer box informs us that we should check local recycling details to find out whether the plastic film in which the slices and wrapped and the plastic tray which holds them are able to be recycled.



      Price:
      Morrisons were charging £1.99 for a box of these, but, at time of purchase, they has a 2 for £3 offer on many Mr. Kipling's products.



      Taste and Opinion:

      These are fairly similar in size and shape as the other Mr Kipling products. They're around 7cms long by 3 cms thick and around 2 and a half cms in depth. The majority of the slice, is, of course taken up by the sponge, which looks to have a decent number of raisins nestling in it. Atop that is a thin layer of caramel which is, in turn, topped by the chocolate layer which is darker in colour than the caramel.

      The sponge is nice and soft and has a very good consistency. It's neither too dry nor too wet and claggy which is a major plus point. The raisins are plentiful and are a nice counterpoint to the sponge as they're much more chewy than the sponge is. The caramel layer is slightly sticky and the chocolate layer is firm so, overall there are four different elements all working together to create a pleasing slice.

      Overall, I'd say that Mr. Kipling has got these just about right. The amount of rum used is enough to ensure that you know that it's there but not enough to overpower the rest of the product nor to put your off eating them. I've had ice-creams that have a stronger taste of rum than these slices do so don't let the thought that these taste really strongly of rum put you off trying them. I would have preferred perhaps a little more caramel to be used in these, but that's just a minor quibble from me.

      Sizewise these are a very handy size to pop into a lunchbox although the fact that they're packed in pairs means that you're forced to leave one exposed to the air if you only want to eat one slice.

      The sugar & fat content with these isn't brilliant, but then it's pretty similar to lots of cake type products that are available, particularly those made by Mr. Kipling. One slice will provide you with 17.9g of sugar (RDA for adults is 90g) and 6.0g of fat (RDA for adults is 70g), so these aren't the sort of thing you should be eating if you're on a diet or are trying to watch your weight.

      As a snacky treat though, I'd say that they're rather good and definitely better than a number of other Mr. Kipling products although once you open that plastic sleeve there's the temptation to eat the other slice.

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        30.07.2010 10:06
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        Below par novel from Alistair MacLean

        Circus is one of a number of Alistair MacLean books I bought as a teenager. I remember reading it, not long after I'd got it and enjoying it a lot. Now that I'm older I was interested to see whether my feelings about the book had changed or not.

        The author:

        Alistair MacLean was born in Scotland in 1922 and served in the Royal Navy during World War II. His first novel, HMS Ulysses drew on his wartime experiences and was a success. Specialising in the genres of adventures stories, spy stories and war stories MacLean wrote 28 novels and a collection of short stories during his career. A number of his novels were turned into films featuring major film stars of the day. These included Breakheart Pass (Charles Bronson), Bear Island (Donald Sutherland, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Lee), Ice Station Zebra (Rock Hudson) and The Guns of Navarone (Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and David Niven).


        Circus, published in 1975, was Alistair MacLean's nineteenth novel and was a return to the present after his previous novel, Breakheart Pass, which had been set in the 1870s. To date it has not been filmed, unlike a number of his other novels.



        Plot:

        The undisputed star of the Wringfield circus is Bruno Wildermann, the greatest trapeze artist in the world who also appears to have clairvoyant powers and a photographic memory. Many years ago he and his brothers fled Eastern Europe after the secret police arrested his family and murdered his wife.

        It is these factors that make Bruno the perfect candidate to carry out a CIA operation to steal the new formula for an anti-matter weapon which is held in a heavily guarded laboratory in his former homeland. The plan is that the operation will be carried out during a tour of Eastern Europe by the circus.

        But, as always, not ever goes quite according to plan and as the murders and kidnappings mount up it becomes abundantly clear that someone is determined to stop Bruno succeeding at all costs.......


        Opinion:

        Anyone who has read a few Alistair MacLean will no doubt have realised that MacLean likes to push his heroes to the limits to human endurance. This may take the form of a superior mental intellect which operates effectively even under extreme conditions or it may be a purely physical phenomena in which the hero is capable of performing feats of stamina and dexterity whilst either wounded or sleep deprived, or both.

        This, of course, requires some suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader as MacLean's heroes win through against almost insurmountable odds using, it seems, little more than physical adrenalin and a determination to "get the job done".

        To an extent, Circus avoids these pitfalls by virtue of the fact that many of the characters are performers in a circus. If Bruno is seen to be performing feats that require some sort of acrobatic ability in the pursuit of his mission it can be accepted without any suspension of disbelief at all because that's exactly what we expect circus performers to be able to do in front of the audiences that come to see them. In this sense then, Bruno is much more believable as a central character than many of the other male characters that MacLean populates his books with. The skills he's spent years perfecting in his career perfectly complement those required for his mission.

        Unfortunately the plus point in terms of character believability aren't echoed in other sections of the book. True, the story starts off quite well with two of the men that have recruited Bruno for the mission being killed, but, once the murders and kidnapping start the reader starts to question why Bruno's enemies just don't finish him off as well. There's certainly plenty of opportunity for them to do so and quite why they don't decide to "nip things in the bud" and stop Bruno's mission dead in it's tracks is never adequately explained. MacLean's novels, at least the earlier ones, are decently plotted and there always seems to be a reason why the hero hasn't been finished off by his enemies but that's not the case with this book.

        The central female character in the book is one Maria Hopkins, an agent who is sent to keep an eye on Bruno as well as to act as go-between for him and his controller, Dr. Harper. She's "a petite figure, with long dark hair, rather splendid liquid dark eyes and an extraordinarily infectious laugh and smile". MacLean's female characters are never really given any degree of depth and it's often hard to see quite what qualities they possess that makes the hero fall in love with them, beyond the fact that they're attractive. Maria Hopkins doesn't deviate from this template in any way, shape or form, but then anyone who has read a couple of MacLean novels wouldn't expect anything else so this is only likely to be an issue for the reader if Circus is the first MacLean novel you're reading.

        However, even the lack of depth to Maria's character pales into insignificance when compared with the clichéd characters of the Eastern European Secret Police and the manner in which they keep Bruno and the rest of the circus under observation. The speech used and the actions they take almost seem to come straight out of some 1950 B-movie, when American was obsessed with "commies" and "reds under the beds".

        I also found the pacing of the book rather disappointing. My copy, published in 1987 runs to 191 pages. It seems to take an age for the circus to actually reach Europe (page 99) and then we're upto page 160 by the time Bruno makes his attempt to get into the building which houses the formula for the anti-matter weapon. In essence then, Bruno's attempt at getting the formula as well as the explanation for the deaths of the various characters during the course of the novel is all wrapped up within 31 pages. I personally found this too rushed, and, as I mentioned earlier, there's no reason at all given for why Bruno hasn't been killed before he's able to make an attempt to get the formula. Compare this with the explanation of events in MacLean's earlier novel "Where Eagles Dare" and Circus falls down very badly indeed.

        Overall then, I'd say that this novel is one for confirmed MacLean fans. Casual readers are unlikely to be won over by it's rather second rate 'charms'.....




        Paperback: 288 pages
        Publisher: Harper; (Reissue) edition (5 Jan 2009)
        Language English
        ISBN-10: 0006167357
        ISBN-13: 978-0006167358


        Alistair MacLean Ratings on Dooyoo:

        Breakheart Pass (4 Dooyoo stars)
        The Dark Crusader (4 Dooyoo stars)
        The Satan Bug (4 Dooyoo stars)
        When Eight Bells Toll (4 Dooyoo stars)

        Santorini (3 Dooyoo stars)
        The Way To Dusty Death (3 Dooyoo stars)
        Where Eagles Dare (3 Dooyoo stars)

        Circus (2 stars)

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        • More +
          28.07.2010 08:21
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          Pleasantly Flavoured Sauce For Chicken

          This review is for the low fat version of the Honey and Mustard Chicken Tonight sauce.


          Packaging:

          The sauce comes in a standard glass jar with a green screw top lid. The label covers around 70% of the jar and has the Knorr logo and the front along with a statement that the sauce contains no artificial colours or flavours. The rest of the label contains the ingredients, nutritional information, cooking information and the contact details for Unilever who are the owners of the Knorr brand.


          Nutritional Information per 100g {per 1/4 jar: 125g}:

          Energy kJ: 313kJ {410kJ}
          kcal: 74kcal {97kcal}
          Protein: 1.1g {1.5g}
          Carbohydrate: 12.3g {16.1g}
          of which sugars: 10.5g {13.7g}
          Fat: 2.3g {3.0g}
          of which saturates: 0.4g {0.5g}
          Fibre: 1.5g {1.9g}
          Sodium: 0.5g {0.6g}
          Salt Equivalent: 1.2g {1.6g}


          Ingredients: Water, Carrots (17%), Onions (9.4%), Mustard (6.5%), (Water, Mustard Seed, Spirit Vinegar, Salt, Natural Mustard Flavouring),Sugar, Honey (3.5%), Cornflour, Cream (1.5%), Sunflower Oil, Onion Powder, Yeast Extract, Milk Protein, Garlic Powder, Stabiliser (Xanthan Gum), Ginger, Pasteurised Egg Yolk, Salt, Parsley (0.06%).


          Allergy Information:

          The product contains traces of celery


          Price:

          At time of writing Asda are selling this for £1.


          Taste and opinion:

          Both boyfriend and I think that chicken is a rather dry meat so, if we're not having it as part of a roast with gravy then we tend to have some sort of sauce with it. This honey and mustard flavour is one of a number of options available in the Chicken Tonight range, some of which are available in both "full fat" and "low fat" versions.

          This particular flavour is a sort of off-yellow colour and there are small slices of carrot which are clearly visible. I'd probably describe the sauce itself as being of a medium thickness. It's not thin and watery but neither it is thick, gloopy and claggy. There's more than enough sauce to cover an adequate amount of meat to feed 3 or 4 people, especially if you're planning on have rice, some sort of potato product or something else with the honey and mustard chicken.

          After "dishing up" I took my first taste of the sauce. The honey gives the sauce a sweet taste which may put people who are not partial to sweet things off it. However, that doesn't mean that it's as sweet as chocolate or cakes that you'd find in the confectionery line, just that it's got a sweeter taste than the majority of sauces that are available for use with pasta, chicken or other meats. The bourguignon sauce for Beef Tonight for example contains 3.8% sugar whilst this honey and mustard sauce is made up of 10.5% sugar.

          The one thing I was slightly concerned about with this sauce was the mustard. Mustard isn't something that I'm very fond of as a general rule so I tend to avoid eating it. I was pleased to find that this sauce doesn't taste too strongly of mustard at all, although this is perhaps because the taste of it has been softened somewhat by the honey. Overall I'd say that this is a sweet, creamy sauce with a slight tang from the mustard. I would imagine that the fact that this sauce is sweeter than most of the others on the market would mean that people who aren't fond of sweet things might have a problem eating large amounts of it.

          In dietary terms this is very good on the fat front, containing just 2.3% of fat, but not so in terms of sugar content. There are no nasty "E" numbers, artificial sweeteners, colours of flavours which is always a good thing. I'd recommend this as a pleasant sauce to be used with chicken, although, as I said, some people may have issues with the fact that it is sweeter than other sauces on the market.

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            20.07.2010 08:27
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            An ok product but nothing special

            This is the fourth meal I've tried in the Asda Good For You Range.


            Packaging:

            This meal comes inside a generic plastic tray which is covered with the usual see through film and encased in a paper sleeve. The front of the sleeve has a picture of the chicken curry alongside the rice and states that the product contains no artificial colours or flavours and no hydrogenated fat.

            The back of the sleeve contains the usual ingredients, nutritional information, storage instructions, recycling information and cooking instructions. This product is suitable for freezing and can be microwaved from chilled or frozen as well as being oven cooked.

            I'm also told that the card sleeve is widely recycled, that I should check my local recycling to find out whether the tray can be recycled and that the film is not currently recycled.

            This product is described as:- " Succulent chicken breast pieces in a spicy curry sauce served with egg fried rice."


            Ingredients:

            Chinese Chicken Curry (60%) [Water, Cooked Chicken Breast (33%) [Chicken Breast (99%), Salt], Onions (14%), Peas (3.9%), Single Cream (3.6%), Vegetable Oil, Creamed Coconut, Cornflour, Dark Soy Sauce [Water, Salt, Soya Beans, Colour (Plain Caramel), Wheat Flour, Sugar, Preservative (Potassium Sorbate)], Spices. Vegetable Bouillon [Salt, Potato Starch, Yeast Extract, Flavourings, Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Onion Powder, Celery Extract, Citric Acid, Dehydrated Celery, Spice Extract [Pepper, Turmeric, Nutmeg, Fenugreek], Parsley, Lovage Extract), Light Soy Sauce [Water, Soya Beans, Wheat Flour, Salt, Sugar, Colour (Plain Caramel), Preservative (Potassium Sorbate)], Garlic Puree [Garlic, Salt, Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid), Sugar, Ginger Puree, Sesame Seed Oil]
            Egg Fried Rice (40%) [Cooked Rice (62%) [Water, Rice], Onions (21%), Peas (6.9%), Spring Onions (3.5%), Water Chestnuts (3.5%) [Water Chestnuts , Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid)], Scrambled Egg (2.1%) [Pasteurised Egg (67%), Whole Milk, Water , Vegetable Oil, Cornflour, Concentrated Lemon Juice, Salt, White Pepper], Sesame Oil, Salt.


            Nutritional Information per pack {per 100g in brackets}

            Energy kJ: 2410kJ {602kJ}
            kcal: 571kcal {143kcal}
            Protein: 42.4g {10.6g}
            Carbohydrate: 68.0g {17.0g}
            of which sugars: 7.2g {1.8g}
            Fat: 14.4g {3.6g}
            (of which saturates): 5.6g {1.4g}
            Fibre: 7.2g {1.8g}
            Sodium: 0.84g {0.21g}
            Salt: 2.1g {0.5g}

            Allergy information: Contains gluten, milk, sesame seeds, wheat, egg, soya and celery/celeriac
            May contain traces of nuts


            Price:
            At the time of writing Asda are charging £4 for 3 meals from the "Good For You" range.


            Taste and Opinion:

            I really wasn't in the mood for cooking last night so I pulled this out of the freezer and decided to cook it in the oven to give me time to get the packaging details, ingredients etc listed above typed up.

            The first thing I noticed after pulling off the see through film was that there seemed to be quite a lot of chicken but that the curry sauce (like the beef in blackbean sauce I reviewed back in May) looked to be quite watery. I also spotted peas and bits of onion in the chicken curry section of the tray.

            The rice looked pretty much the same as any other rice you might find in a pre-prepared meal, although it was perhaps a little less white. I wonder whether this is because it's egg fried? Perhaps. I spotted a few peas and some onion in there. Thankfully it doesn't look all claggy and stuck together. Time to see what it tastes like now.

            The first thing I tried was the rice and I was pleased to find that my observation was correct. It wasn't all sticky and matted into clumps like it sometimes can be, nor did it taste plastic and somewhat artificial as you can sometimes find rice to be like in some ready meals. The water chestnuts and peas made a nice contrast in texture compared to the rice but I would have preferred if there had been slightly more of both. There was a couple of things in there (not sure what) which were hard in texture. I left the meal in my oven for 3 minutes longer than the stated cooking time and the hard bits didn't taste frozen so perhaps this was just a one off rather than the meal being undercooked.

            The curry sauce was a little watery, although not quite as bad as the beef in blackbean sauce I tried. The chicken was reasonably tender rather than rubbery and tasteless which was a nice surprise and I could taste the onions and the peas that he been included in the sauce. The sauce itself has a slightly spicy edge and leaves an aftertaste but it's quite pleasant. I wouldn't say it's the best curry sauce I've ever tasted but nor is it the worst.

            Mixing the chicken curry and the rice together I found that there was enough of the chicken curry to over the rice to a decent standard. The rice soaked up the watery bits of the curry sauce so it was less obvious how thin parts of it were. The combination of the chicken curry and rice made for a reasonably adequate meal but I wouldn't describe it as "really tasty" if pushed. It was more of an "average" or "ok" chicken curry. I did however find that this meal was more filling than most of the Watchers meals that I've tried in the past. But, like many meals with rice that "full feeling" seems to go quite quickly and an hour after I'd finished the meal I felt as if I could quite easily eat something else.

            In nutritional terms this comes in at 602 calories and will be more than enough to keep any hunger pangs at bay for a short time. The sugar and fat figures, both under 4% are very low and certainly aren't any cause for concern. The RDA of fat for a female is 70g and this meal contains 14.4g of fat which is less than 25% of the Daily Amount. In sugar terms the meal contains less than 10% of a woman's RDA. These percentages are, of course, lower for men. The only potential point of concern is the salt figure as it's almost half of an adult's recommended daily amount (6g). All in all this is an ok product but I won't be rushing out to buy it again.

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            • More +
              19.07.2010 08:27
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              Creamy if somewhat bland pasta sauce

              As part of Boyfriend's current diet plan he's purchased diet versions of a number of things. This is the second Weight Watchers pasta sauce we've tried now.


              Packaging:

              The sauce comes in a standard glass jar with a screw top lid. The label covers around 80% of the jar and has the Weight Watcher logo on the front along with a picture of the sauce covering some pasta. We're also told that this sauce is "inspired by Italian recipes" and that it "combines delicious vine ripened tomatoes with mozzarella and rocket".
              The rest of the label contains the ingredients, nutritional information, cooking information, allergy advice and storage information.

              The jar contains 350g of sauce and is meant to serve two people. Half a jar of sauce is worth 1 point on the Weight Watchers diet.

              Nutritional Information per 100g {per serving: (175g )}:

              Energy kJ: 143kJ {250kJ}
              kcal: 34kcal {60kcal}
              Protein: 1.5g {2.6g}
              Carbohydrate: 5.4g {9.5g}
              of which sugars: 4.2g {7.4g}
              Fat: 0.7g {1.2g}
              of which saturates: 0.2g {0.4g}
              Fibre: 1.5g {2.6g}
              Sodium: 0.10g {0.17g}
              Salt Equivalent: 0.2g {0.4g}


              Ingredients: Tomatoes (58%) (contains Acidity Regulator: Citric Acid), Water, Concentrated Tomato Puree, Rocket (2.2%), Onion, Mozzarella Cheese (2.0%), Maize Starch, Sugar, Celery, Garlic Puree, Dried Onion, Vegetable Oil, Acidity Regulator: Citric Acid, Salt, Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Black Pepper, Flavouring (contains celery), White Pepper, Thyme


              Allergy Information:

              Contains milk and celery. May contain traces of nuts or sesame seeds.
              This sauce is suitable for vegetarians

              Price:

              At time of writing my local shop are charging 50p for one jar of this sauce.


              Taste and opinion:

              Rocket, for those of you that don't know, is apparently also known as arugula (particularly in America) and is a dark green salad vegetable. It's a rich source of vitamins A and C and the leaves have a peppery, slightly bitter flavour. Having found that out I was quite interested to find out what sort of effect it would have on the tomato sauce and how this would compare to the Weight Watchers Roasted Garlic pasta sauce that I reviewed recently

              Opening the jar I could see bits that were presumably onion and celery. The sauce itself looked pretty much the same as the Weight Watchers Roasted Garlic pasta sauce as far as I could see. There weren't any bits of green rocket leaf that I spotted that would mark it out as different. In terms of texture this is, like the Roasted Garlic flavour, quite thick and the last remnants need to be got out of the jar with a spoon.

              This sauce, like the Roasted Garlic flavour, doesn't go all watery during cooking and there's enough sauce to cover the pasta used quite well, providing you follow the directions on the jar. The sauce will only really feed two people if you're using it as part of a main meal. There isn't enough sauce to feed two people who just want to have pasta unless they're both eating a small amount of it, or unless you're not bothered about having much sauce with your pasta. One again, I did salad and jacket potatoes with our meal and that was enough to make a satisfying main meal for the two of us. If I'd just done enough pasta to ensure that there was enough sauce to cover it then I suspect we'd still have been hungry after finishing it.

              So, what does it taste like? After finding out that rocket has a peppery, slightly bitter flavour I was expecting this sauce to have a bit of an edge to it, possibly like the Roasted Garlic flavour does, but with a different taste obviously. Taking a taste I soon realised that this wasn't the case at all. The best way that I can describe the flavour is as being like a creamy tomato taste. I suspect that this is down to the mozzarella that's been added to the tomato base. There's a slight taste of onion and you can tell that there are bits of it in the sauce when you're eating it but the rocket failed to make any sort of impression on me at all. Not having tasted it on it's own, I'm not sure whether this is because rocket isn't actually that strongly flavoured or whether it's because they haven't actually used enough rocket in the recipe to stand out against the taste of the tomato base, the onion and the garlic puree etc.

              Overall, I was slightly disappointed with this sauce and didn't find it to be as tasty as the Roasted Garlic flavour. When I asked Boyfriend's opinion he labelled this flavour "bland" and said that the Roasted Garlic one was much better. We won't be buying this again.

              If however, you're looking for a creamy tomato based pasta sauce with no particular strong flavour then look no further than this.

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              16.07.2010 08:20
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              Reasonably good minty flavoured lolly

              Boyfriend and I bought some "lollies" from Sainsburys recently and this was my choice of flavour. Being a fan of mint flavoured things anyway I was hoping that these would prove to be a tasty treat.


              Packaging:

              Each lolly comes in a see through plastic wrapper (which hardly seems indulgent) with all three of them are housed inside the usual rectangular carton which can be recycled. The outside of the carton has the usual Sainsburys logo with a picture of one of the lollies on the front with a bite taken out of it along with a few mint leaves. The sides of the carton contains the usual ingredients, nutritional information and contact details.

              You can visit the Sainsburys website: www.sainsburys.co.uk for more information

              This product is described as:- "Mint dairy ice cream with a chocolate flavoured swirl enrobed in Belgian milk chocolate with mint pieces."


              Ingredients:

              Mint Dairy Ice Cream (58%), Milk Chocolate (31%), Chocolate Flavoured Sauce (7%), Mint Pieces (4%)

              Mint Dairy Ice Cream contains: Cream (23%)*, Water, Milk Proteins*, Skimmed Cows' Milk*, Sugar Glucose Syrup, Butterfat*, Emulsifier: Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids; Stabilisers: Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum; Natural Flavouring

              Belgian Milk Chocolate contains: Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, ,Milk Proteins*, Butterfat*, Skimmed Milk Powder*, Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin, Flavouring

              Chocolate Flavoured Sauce contains: Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Water, Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Maize Starch, Salt, Emulsifier: Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids

              Mint Pieces contains: Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Palm Kernel Fat, Butter, Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin, Natural Flavouring

              * from Cows' Milk.


              Nutritional Information per stick {per 100g in brackets}

              Energy kJ: 977kJ {1396kJ}
              kcal: 234kcal {334kcal}
              Protein: 2.1g {3.0g}
              Carbohydrate: 24.9g {35.6g}
              of which sugars: 19.8g {28.3g}
              of which starch: 0.3g {0.4g}
              Fat: 14.0g {20.0g}
              of which saturates: 8.1g {11.6g}
              mono-unsaturates: 4.3g {6.2g}
              polyunsaturates: 0.6g {0.9g}
              Fibre: 1.0g {1.4g}
              Salt: 0.11g {0.15g}
              of which sodium Trace {Trace}


              Allergy information: Contains milk and soya.

              Not suitable for nut allergy sufferers due to the methods used in the manufacture of this product.


              Price:

              At the time of writing Sainsburys are charging £1.38 for one box of these. There is also an "Any 2 for £2" offer on across many items in the Indulgence range.


              Taste and Opinion:

              This lolly is around 10 1/2 cms long, 5cms wide and 2 1/2 cms thick so it's almost comparable to the Magnum "stick" (which is around 10 cms long, 5 cms wide and 3 cms thick). I detected a slight minty smell once I'd opened the plastic wrapper but there was a slight crack in the outer chocolate shell so I suspect that that was the cause of the aroma.

              Biting into the stick I found the outer layer of chocolate to be nicely flavoured. It's not a smooth chocolate like you'd find on a number of other lollies that are available but it has crunchy pieces within it which make a nice contrast to the smooth texture of the chocolate and the ice cream that it covers. I wouldn't say that the chocolate is necessarily the best that I've ever tasted but it it's far from being cheap and / or tasteless. In fact it's probably one of the better chocolate outer shells that I've tried and it will probably leave you thinking "that's really quite nice" rather than "wow, that's the best chocolate I've had in ages".

              The mint flavoured ice cream is actually rather good too. It's doesn't taste horrible and synthetic nor is it so strongly flavoured that you'd find it overpowering. It's strong enough to leave you with a pleasing minty taste in your mouth but not perhaps as minty tasting as some of the toothpastes that you can buy.

              The stick remained firmly embedded in the lolly for the whole of the time that I was eating it which I was pleased with. My refrigerator is frost free and I never alter the temperature but, despite this, I have had a number of experiences with lollies in which they've separated from the stick leading to me using a bowl and spoon to eat them. Thankfully that wasn't the case with this particular item.

              On the nutrition front these are comprised of 20% fat (which is equal to the Magnum Ecuador Dark) and 28.3% sugar (which is more than the Magnum Ecuador Dark) I reviewed a while back. So, these aren't something you should be eating copious amounts of if you're on a diet or are watching your weight. If you're looking for a decent tasting treat at an affordable price then these could well fit the bill.

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                15.07.2010 08:14
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                Tasty, Everyday honey

                I've had this in the cupboard for a while so decided to share my thoughts on it....

                Packaging:

                The honey comes in glass jar with a green screw top. Most of the jar is taken up with the label which is predominantly yellow in colour although there is a small red banner at the top proclaiming "Save The Honey Bee". There is no nutritional information listed on the label nor anything to state the provenance on the honeys used beyond the fact that this product is a blend of EC and Non-EC honeys.

                There is some information about the honey bee and how the numbers of it have declined in recent years along with the website address which is:- www.rowsehoney.co.uk



                Price:
                I paid the sum of 99p for a jar of this at my local corner shop.


                Taste and Opinion:

                Opening the jar for the first time I can see a lovely clear golden yellow honey. That "honey smell" you get when you open a jar (I'm not even going to attempt to describe what it smell like) is present and correct but is in no way overpowering.

                The honey itself is fairy thick and looks fairly similar to golden syrup. However, if you tip the jar slightly or dip a spoon or knife into the honey you soon discover that this is a little runnier than most golden syrups on the market. That's not to say that it's very runny, because it's not, just that you won't have any problem at all spreading this on toast or bread or anything else that you care to put it on.

                There is a slight taste to this honey and, to be honest, I'm not quite sure what it is. It's not strong enough to state that it's got a fruity taste or a flowery taste so if you're the sort of person who doesn't like strongly flavoured things this should present no problems for you at all.

                Overall this is a great tasty, everyday honey that I'd be happy to recommend to anyone. Honey itself is fat free, cholesterol free and contains less calories than sugar so it's a great product to add to cereals, tea, coffee and loads of other foodstuffs. The Rowse website listed above has lots of information about its brands and honey in general (including some recipes) and is well worth a visit.

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                  14.07.2010 08:16
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                  Tasty, Low Calorie Sauce

                  Boyfriend is quite keen to lose some weight so as well as stocking up on various fruit and veg he's also started to buy various "diet versions" of some foodstuffs. The last batch of stuff he bought had a few Weight Watchers products in it, including this:-


                  Packaging:

                  The sauce comes in a standard glass jar with a screw top lid. The label covers around 80% of the jar and has the Weight Watcher logo on the front along with a picture of the sauce covering some pasta. We're also told that this sauce is "inspired by Italian recipes" and that it "combines roasted garlic and onion with delicious vine ripened tomatoes".
                  The rest of the label contains the ingredients, nutritional information, cooking information, allergy advice and storage information.

                  The jar contains 350g of sauce and is meant to serve two people. Half a jar of sauce is worth 1 point on the Weight Watchers diet.

                  Nutritional Information per 100g {per serving: (175g )}:

                  Energy kJ: 145kJ {254kJ}
                  kcal: 34kcal {60kcal}
                  Protein: 1.3g {2.3g}
                  Carbohydrate: 6.4g {11.2g}
                  of which sugars: 2.9g {5.1g}
                  Fat: 0.4g {0.7g}
                  of which saturates: <0.1g {<0.2g}
                  Fibre: 1.2g {2.1g}
                  Sodium: 0.05g {0.08g}
                  Salt Equivalent: 0.1g {0.2g}


                  Ingredients: Tomatoes (60%), Water, Tomato Puree, Onion (2.3%), Sugar, Maize Starch, Roasted Garlic (1%), Celery, Dried Onion, Vegetable Oil, Citric Acid, Pepper, Parsley, Oregano, Basil, Flavouring (contains celery), Thyme


                  Allergy Information:

                  Contains celery. May contain traces of nuts or sesame seeds.
                  This sauce is suitable for vegetarians

                  Price:

                  At time of writing my local shop are charging 50p for one jar of this sauce.


                  Taste and opinion:

                  I've tried a number of Weight Watchers products before and, in general, find the brand a bit hit and miss. You can imagine, then, that I wasn't exactly filled with confidence at the thought of trying this pasta sauce. After reading the calories and nutritional information I was even less impressed, expecting the sauce to be thin, watery and lacking in taste.

                  Opening the jar I got a slight whiff of the garlic. I spotted bits of vegetable in the sauce which were presumably the onion and/or the celery. The sauce itself is quite thick and the last remnants need to be got out of the jar with a spoon. It's certainly a thicker sauce than I was expecting from reading the nutritional information. Pouring the last of it over my cooked pasta I gave it a stir and left it to warm whilst I put the finishing touches to the rest of the meal.

                  Sitting down I took a taste of the pasta and was pleasantly surprised. It hadn't gone all watery during cooking and there was enough sauce to cover the pasta I'd used quite well. Taking a taste I was pleased to find that it had rather a nice flavour. I could taste the garlic, the onion and the herbs but, thankfully, none of the flavours dominates the others. So, if you're not a fan of things which taste strongly of onion or garlic this is unlikely to be a problem for you.

                  Overall this is a pleasant tasting sauce. I've had tomato based sauces that taste better and I've had ones that taste worse but, considering that this is a diet sauce and is low in calories it actually does rather well on the taste front. It's low in fat and there are no nasty artificial colours, preservatives or additives listed in the ingredients.

                  On the downside one jar of this will only really feed two people if you're using it as part of a main meal. There isn't enough sauce to feed two people who just want to have pasta unless they're both eating a small amount of it, or unless you're not bothered about having much sauce with your pasta. I did salad and jacket potatoes with our meal and that was enough to make a satisfying main meal for the two of us. If I'd just done enough pasta to ensure that there was enough sauce to cover it then I suspect we'd still have been hungry after finishing it.

                  To conclude then, this is a fairly tasty sauce which could provide a main meal for one person or part of a main meal for two or three.

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                    12.07.2010 08:13
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                    Ready meal that's low in calories and low in taste

                    This is the third meal I've tried in the Asda Good For You Range.


                    Packaging:

                    This meal comes inside a generic plastic tray which is covered with the usual see through film and encased in a paper carton. The front and back of the carton have a picture of the shepherd's pie on a plate with a few green vegetables and state that the product contains no artificial colours or flavours and no hydrogenated fat. There's also a little green bubble telling us that the products contains 339 calories per 400g pack.

                    The side of the carton contains the usual ingredients, nutritional information, storage instructions, recycling information and cooking instructions. This product is suitable for freezing and can be microwaved from chilled or frozen as well as being oven cooked.

                    This product is described as:- " Tender minced lamb, carrots, onions and peas in a meaty gravy, topped with fluffy mashed potato."

                    You can visit www.asda.com for more information about their products or www.asda-goodforyou. for further information about a healthy lifestyle.



                    Ingredients:

                    Potato Topping (55%) [Water, Potato Flake contains [Colour (Curcurmin), Whey Powder (Milk), Salt, Ground White Pepper] Water, Minced Lamb (12%), Carrot (4.2%). Onion (4.0%), Peas (1.8%), Wheat Flour, Maize Starch, Beef Extract, Tomato Puree, Salt, Roasted Barley Malt Extract, Mint, Ground Black Pepper.

                    Nutritional Information per pack {per 100g in brackets}. All figures are for the meal if it is microwaved.

                    Energy kJ: 1426kJ {375kJ}
                    kcal: 339kcal {85kcal}
                    Protein: 16.0g {4.0g}
                    Carbohydrate: 44.4g {11.1g}
                    of which sugars: 2.0g {0.5g}
                    Fat: 10.8g {2.7g}
                    (of which saturates): 4.0g {1.0g}
                    Fibre: 5.6g {1.4g}
                    Sodium: 0.68g {0.17g}
                    Equivalent as Salt: 1.7g {0.4g}

                    Allergy information: Contains gluten, milk, wheat, and barley
                    May contain traces of nuts and / or seeds


                    Price:
                    At the time of writing Asda are charging £4 for 3 meals from the "Good For You" range .


                    Taste and Opinion:

                    I really wasn't in the mood for cooking last night and, having had a decent sized lunch decided to see what this was like. I popped it into the oven then settled down at the PC to fill in all the other product details above whilst it was cooking.

                    The first thing I noticed, before I even put this into the oven, was that there appeared to be much more to this meal that it's Weight Watchers equivalent. A quick check online confirmed that the Weight Watchers Shepherds Pie is 320g and contains 216 calories whilst this Asda product is 400g and contains 339 calories. Once it's cooked, of course, there's not a whole lot to see apart from the top layer of potato which actually looks quite nice.

                    Pushing my fork in I took a taste of the potato. It's tastes "ok", nothing special, but certainly not horrible either. They don't appear to have added anything to the potato topping to give it any sort of flavour which is strange. Perhaps a bit of seasoning of some sort would have improved the taste somewhat. In terms of consistency I think that the potato is more creamy than "fluffy" as claimed in the product blurb. It's almost the same as when you've used a little too much milk/butter/margarine at home and it's turned out a little more smooth than you'd intended it to be.

                    I was quite disappointed with the minced lamb which wasn't particularly tender as the blurb claims. To be honest I found that it was more chewy that tender and there was far too little of it to be satisfying. The carrots and peas were fine, although again, there weren't particularly that many of them and I didn't detect any onion at all, although given the ingredients there must have been some in there somewhere.

                    I'm quite surprised that the ingredients list the potato topping at 55% because whilst eating this I felt as if it was 75% potato topping and 25% minced beef and vegetables.

                    Overall, I wasn't very satisfied with this product. It's not that it tastes horrible, because it doesn't, but the potato that makes up the vast majority of the meal is a little too smooth and tasteless and there's not really enough minced beef used to make up for the deficiencies of the potato.

                    In nutritional terms this comes in at 339 calories but it I didn't find it to be particularly filling. The sugar and fat figures, (0.5% for sugar and 2.7% for fat) are very low so if you're trying to cut down on your sugar intake,. fat intake or both then this would be a good ready meal to have (providing you could get past the taste drawbacks).

                    In conclusion then I'd say that this scores rather low on the taste front so it's not a product you should be buying if you're looking for something tasty to have at mealtimes.

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                      11.06.2010 08:17
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                      Average Miss Marple Murder Mystery

                      It's been a while since I read a Miss Marple novel so here goes with another one.....


                      The author:

                      Agatha Christie was born in Torquay in 1890. Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair At Styles, which introduced the now famous Hercule Poirot was published in 1920. Her other well known creation, Miss Marple, first appeared in a short story in 1927 before appearing in her first full length novel, "The Murder At The Vicarage" in 1930.

                      During her lifetime Christie wrote a number of novels, short stories, poetry & plays. Her play "The Mousetrap" holds the world record for the longest run in history as it has been performed since 1952.

                      Christie is estimated to have sold around 4 billion copies of her collected works, putting her second only to The Bible. She was married twice and was a Dame of the British Empire. She died on January 12th 1976.


                      Plot:

                      Ruth Van Rydock is worried about her sister Carrie Louise Serrocold. Her recent visit to Carrie Louise's home, Stonygates, has left her feeling that there is "something wrong" but she can quite put her finger on what it is or explain what's happened to make her feel this way beyond the fact that it's "something in the atmosphere".

                      She confides her worries to her old friend, Jane Marple and tells her that she's already suggested to Carrie Louise that she should invite Jane down to Stonygates to stay for a while. Miss Marple is only to happy to agree. Her and the two sisters met in Florence when they were younger and she has seen Carrie Louise for over 20 years although they have always kept in touch by letter and have exchanged cards at Christmas.

                      Arriving at Stonygates Miss Marple finds a somewhat shabby Victorian mansion which is occupied by Carrie Louise and other members of her family. Her husband, Lewis Serrocold is interested in the rehabilitation of young offenders and part of the grounds of the estate house the buildings for the rehabilitation project and its staff.

                      Not long after Miss Marple's arrival, Carrie Louise's stepson, Christian Gulbrandsen pays an unexpected visit. He seems to be somewhat concerned Carrie Louise and is very keen to find out whether she has any heart problems. Later, during an altercation between Carrie Louise's husband Lewis and one of the young offenders Edgar Lawson a shot rings out and Christian is found dead.....


                      Characters:

                      Like the two Miss Marple novels that preceded it (The Moving Finger and A Murder Is Announced) this is another novel set away from Miss Marple's home village of St. Mary Mead. None of the characters we meet in this book have appeared in any of the first four Marple novels.

                      As with most Christie novels the guest characters are written with varying degrees of depth and characterisation. Carrie Louise is presented as someone frail who is a little out of touch with reality. Everyone else in the book seems to think that she's very fragile and needs protecting.

                      In contrast, her husband Lewis is a bit of a dynamo and is very focussed on his rehabilitation project. None of the staff who the rehabilitation project are developed beyond being names on a page nor are any of the young offenders with the exception of Edgar Lawson who goes around telling all and sundry that his real father is Winston Churchill or Lord Montgomery. He comes across as a very confused young man and the reader is never quite show whether he's deliberately lying for effect or whether he's got some sort of mental problem.

                      There's a stern, efficient companion/housekeeper in the form of Juliet Bellever which is a fairly staple role in an Agatha Christie mystery but no other servants beyond that which is strange as there's usually a cook or a housemaid somewhere.

                      Carrie's Louise's adopted granddaughter, Gina is half Italian and married an American GI during the war. On the surface it looks as if the marriage isn't a happy one and Gina seems to enjoy the attentions of a number of other men, particularly Alex and Stephen Restarick who are Carrie Louise's step sons, although no blood relation to Gina. She's not very PC by today's standards though, frequently referring to any of the men on Lewis's rehabilitation project with any sort of mental issues as "the queers".

                      However, my favourite character was probably Carrie Louise's daughter Mildred. Carrie Louise and her first husband thought that they'd never have children so they adopted Gina's mother Pippa, only for Mildred to be born a few years later. Pippa was characterised as the outgoing, friendly, pretty girl that everyone liked whilst Mildred was shy, plain and dull in comparison. Her attitude towards her mother (her father is dead) and Gina is well expressed and developed and anyone who has been compared unfavourably with a sibling, a friend or a competitor will know exactly how she feels, although hopefully, won't have held on to their resentment quite as long as Mildred has!


                      Opinion:

                      After being slightly removed from the action in both The Moving Finger and A Murder Is Announced Agatha Christie throws her female detective into the heart of the action in They Do It With Mirrors. She's present before the first murder takes place and even has the chance to talk to the victim, Christian Gulbrandsen, which is when he enquires about Carrie Louise's health and how she interacts with the rest of the people in the house.

                      Later, there's an altercation between Lewis Serrocold and Edgar Lawson after Edgar accuses Lewis of being his real father, plotting against him and spying on him. Lewis takes him into his study to calm him down, the door is locked and a huge row breaks out. The rest of the household, aside from Christian who has gone to his room to write letters and Gina's husband Wally who has gone to look at the fusebox in the hall, can't help but hear the shouting from the adjacent room and focus their attention on the study door, hoping that things will calm down.

                      During this, some of the household hear a noise which is put down to a car backfiring outside (something which also occurred in the first Miss Marple novel The Murder At The Vicarage), but which turns out to be the shot which killed Christian Gulbrandsen. It isn't long before the police turn up and they are told by Lewis Serrocold that Christian paid an unexpected visit to the house because he discovered that someone was trying to poison Carrie Louise.

                      Thereafter the novel takes a rather traditional course with the police questioning the various people in the house. All of this information is shared with the reader, which is not always the case with Christie's novels, so it's down to them to decide what information, if any, that the police have gleaned is useful in forming a theory. Running parallel to this questioning are Miss Marple's own conversations with various people in the house which again allow the reader to form theories about the potential suspects. So, unlike some of her novels, you can't really accuse Christie of holding back information from the reader in this book.

                      Plotwise, I was slightly less than happy with the two previous Marple novels. The Moving Finger had Miss Marple entering the action very late into the story and solving the murders after a couple of conversation with a few people which I found contrived and unsatisfactory. The next Marple book, A Murder Is Announced, had a number of people living in the village under assumed identities, something which Christie never gave the reader any opportunity to discover. Added to that, we were meant to believe that the murderer crossed a darkened room and killed their victim in the hallway in a very short space of time without tripping, bumping into any else or being noticed.

                      The explanation for the murder in this book, when it comes, is much more plausible and satisfying and, unlike A Murder Is Announced, doesn't stretch the readers credulity. You're left wondering how you missed the clues and how you got everything so wrong (if, of course, you haven't solved the mystery) rather than thinking that Christie had cheated you by keeping back information, or that the explanation is too contrived and unlikely for belief.

                      That doesn't mean to say that the book is perfect because it's not. Gina's American husband Wally comes across as rather ineffective and it's a little difficult to believe he hasn't said anything to Gina about her flirting with Alex and Stephen Restarick. There are two further murders towards the end of the novel, just before Miss Marple delivers her explanation and unmasks the murderer. These seemed rather rushed and it looks as if they were merely inserted to add further confirmation to Miss Marple's theory about the killer. They certainly occur to late to add anything else of value to the mystery or add any sort of tension to proceedings.

                      Overall though, the plot is solid, the explanation is believable and the setting with the rehabilitation project makes a nice change from the usual village setting that Christie used for her first four Marple novels. If you're looking for something with well drawn, rounded characters then this book will disappoint. If however you want a book in which the mystery element is more important to you than characterisation then look no further than this.



                      Paperback: 368 pages
                      Publisher: HarperCollins; TV tie-in edition edition (23 April 2009)
                      Language English
                      ISBN-10: 0007310897
                      ISBN-13: 978-0007310890


                      Miss Marple Ratings (in order of publication):-

                      01) Murder At The Vicarage (3 Dooyoo stars)
                      02) The Body In The Library (3 Dooyoo stars)
                      03) The Moving Finger (3 Dooyoo stars)
                      04) A Murder Is Announced (3 Dooyoo stars)
                      05) They Do It With Mirrors (3 Dooyoo stars)

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                        10.06.2010 08:31
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                        Small Cereal Bar

                        Packaging:

                        The bars are individually wrapped and are packed in a paper carton. The carton is predominantly green and blue in colour with the lower green half showing a picture of the Alpen bar along with some slices of apple, some green grapes and some wheat. The blue half of the box at the top has the Alpen Light logo with a picture of some snowy mountains in the background. There's a yellow "bubble" in the top left hand corner proclaiming that there are fewer than 70 calories per bar.

                        The back of the box contains the ingredients, nutritional information, allergy advice and a few other bits and pieces.

                        The website address is:- www.weetabix.co.uk

                        and the product is described as:- "Prebiotic mixed cereal bar with sultanas, apple and a yogurt drizzle. Half the fat of a standard Alpen cereal bar with yogurt"



                        Ingredients:

                        Cereals (36%) (Rice, Whole Oats, Whole Wheat), Prebiotic Oligofructose Syrup (30%), Sultanas (12%), Sugar, Humectant (Glycerol, Fruit Juice Concentrates (Grape, Apple 0.5%), Dried Apple (2.8%) (Preservative (Sulphur Dioxide), Glucose Syrup, Vegetable Oil, Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Milk Lactose, Skimmed Milk Powder, Milk Yogurt Powder, Malted Barley Extract, Defatted Wheat Germ, Maize Starch, Salt, Flavourings, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Acidity Regulator (Malic Acid), Antioxidant (Tocopherols).



                        Nutritional Information per 21g bar {per 100g in brackets}

                        Energy kJ: 251kJ {1197kJ}
                        Calories: 59kcal {283kcal}
                        Protein: 1.2g {5.6g}
                        Carbohydrate: 14.0g {66.6g}
                        of which sugars: 4.3g {20.6g}
                        Fat: 0.8g {4.0g}
                        of which saturates: 0.3g {1.4g}
                        Fibre: 5.0g {23.7g}
                        Sodium: 0.03g {0.13g}
                        - equivalent as salt: 0.07g {0.33g}

                        Dietary & Allergy Information

                        Contains wheat, barley, oats, milk, soya and sulphites
                        May contain traces of nuts



                        The bars:

                        Each box contains five bars weighing 21g which are individually sealed in their own plastic wrapper. All of the information on the wrapper best before date, ingredients etc can also be found printed on the outer box.



                        Price:
                        I paid the sum of 99p for these in my local corner shop. Asda currently have a 2 boxes for £3 offer on them.


                        Taste and Opinion:

                        Opening the wrapper for the first time I'm quite surprised at how small these cereal bars are. They're around 8 1/2 cms long, just under 3cms wide at the bottom (the bars are slightly curved so the tops are narrower) and just over 2cms high. I can see that the bar is mainly composed of oats and wheat and that it has a yogurt drizzle on the top. There are a few bits of sultana that I can spot amongst the oats and wheat but no bits of apple. The bar itself just about retains its shape, however it is not very strong at all and one piece of it broke off quite easily whilst I was measuring it.

                        Biting into the bar the overall taste is of something sweet. I'm not quite sure whether this is down to the fruit juice concentrates or the various forms of sugar listed in the ingredients. The oats, wheat, sultanas, and apple work well together to create a pleasing taste although, to be honest, there isn't really that much dried apple in the bar or that many sultanas. Still, at least it doesn't taste like cardboard and there's none of that artificial aftertaste you sometimes get with some products. Presumably this is because our old friends aspartame and acesulfameK are not listed in the ingredients.

                        Sizewise, as I said, these are quite small and unless you're the sort of person who takes exceedingly small bites they'll be gone in 3 or 4 mouthfuls so they're not a good product to buy if you're looking for something filling.

                        The sugar content with these isn't brilliant coming in as it does at 20.6% However, one bar will provide you with 4.3g of sugar (RDA for adults is 90g) so in real terms they're not so bad. They're much better on the fat front, being comprised of 4% fat or 0.8g per bar. Given that the fat RDA for women is 70g per day and for men is 95g per day these bars aren't going to trouble the scorer too much.

                        Overall I found these bar quite pleasant, although they are perhaps a little too small and whether they'd keep any sort of hunger pangs at bay is debateable.

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                      • More +
                        09.06.2010 08:36
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                        Tangy Crisps From Sainsburys

                        I'd seen these crisps in Sainburys before but had never actually bought any. Last week whilst I was shopping I finally decided to give them a try.


                        Packaging.

                        The packet for this flavour is predominantly blue with the Sainsburys Taste The Difference logo on the front, along with the flavour and statements that these crisps cooked in sunflower oil and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Turning the packet over the ingredients are listed, along with the allergy information, nutritional information and contact details for Sainsburys. For more information you can visit their website at:-

                        www.sainsburys.co.uk

                        Nutritional Information per 1/3 of a pack (50g) {per 100g in brackets}

                        Energy kJ: 968kJ {1936kJ}
                        kcal: 231kcal {463kcal}
                        Protein: 3.3g {6.5g}
                        Carbohydrate: 26.6g {53.2g}
                        of which sugars: 0.6g {1.2g}
                        of which starch: 26.0g {52.0g}
                        Fat: 12.5g {24.9g}
                        (of which saturates): 1.7g {3.3g}
                        (mono-unsaturates): 3.4g {6.8g}
                        (polyunsaturates): 7.4g {14.8g}
                        Fibre: 2.9g {5.8g}
                        Salt: 1.11g {2.23g}
                        of which sodium: 0.45g {0.89g}


                        Ingredients:

                        Potatoes, Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt and West Country Cider Vinegar Flavour, (Sea Salt, Maltodextrin, Cider Vinegar Powder, Sugar, Malt Vinegar Powder (from barley), Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Yeast Extract).


                        Allergy advice:

                        This product contains barley gluten


                        Price:

                        I paid £1.25 for a pack of these at Sainsburys.


                        Taste & Opinion:

                        To be honest, salt 'n' vinegar is probably one of my favourite crisps flavours. I've tried a few brands before which have used sea salt but never any that have had cider vinegar flavour. I'm quite intrigued to find out what the cider vinegar tastes like and, as I prefer cider to beer, lager or Guinness I'm hopeful that these are going to have a good taste.

                        On opening the packet I was confronted with a slightly salty potatoey smell and a big pile of crisps that felt slightly greasy to the touch. The crisps themselves are a sort of a golden yellow colour and are thicker than the crisps you'd find in a Pringles tube or in a Walkers packet. They feel quite smooth and they're not the sort of crisps that might snap if you were to put them in a dip like some of the other brands would. In fact they look almost identical to the Red Sky crisps that I reviewed a while back on here.

                        Tastewise, these are probably one of the most flavoursome crisps I've ever tasted. The cider vinegar gives them a real tang and whilst I'm not convinced that you can really taste any cider it's obvious that the vinegar taste has had something else added it give it that extra tangy bite. They are however, fairly bad on the salt side so you'll find yourself feeling a little thirsty once you've eaten a few of these.

                        They're thicker and crunchier than most crisps so are probably not suitable for anyone with "eating issues" who can only consume soft food. Definitely not something to be eaten if you have sensitive gums or your mouth is just recovering after a trip to the dentists!

                        Your hands will also feel slightly greasy once you've handled a few of these so you may feel the need to wash or wipe them with something after eating them.

                        In terms of fat content these aren't brilliant, containing almost 25% fat, but they're a fair way below things like Nik Naks, Frisps and the standard Walkers flavours. One whole packet will provide you with 3.33g of salt which is just over half of your Recommended Daily Amount of 6g so they're not brilliant on the salt from at all.

                        Having tried these, I'd happily buy them again purely because they do taste different to many of the other flavours I've tried. If you're thinking of trying them too then make sure you're somewhere where you can get something to drink because, as I said, they do leave you feeling quite thirsty.



                        Crisps ranked in order of fat content:

                        01) Golden Wonder Nik Naks (Rib 'n' Saucy Flavour): 38.3%
                        02) Frisps (Ready Salted Flavour): 35.1%
                        03) Walker (Ready Salted): 34.1%
                        04) Frisps (Cheese 'n' Onion Flavour): 34.0%
                        05) Frisps (Salt 'n' Vinegar Flavour): 33.9%

                        06) Walkers (Salt and Vinegar Flavour): 33.1%
                        07=) Walkers (Cheese and Onion Flavour): 33.0%
                        07=) Walkers (Steak and Onion Flavour): 33.0%
                        09=) Walkers (Prawn Cocktail Flavour): 32.7%
                        09=) Walkers (Roast Chicken Flavour): 32.7%

                        09=) Walkers (Worcester Sauce Flavour): 32.7%
                        12=) Walkers (BBQ Rib): 32.6%
                        12=) Walkers (Smoky Bacon Flavour): 32.6%
                        14=) Pringles Extreme (Smokin' Ribs Flavour): 32.0%
                        14=) Pringles (Hot & Spicy Flavour): 32.0%

                        16) Quavers (Prawn Cocktail Flavour): 31.0%
                        17) McCoys (Flame Grilled Steak Flavour): 30.7%
                        18) McCoys (Roast Ham and Mustard Flavour): 30.6%
                        19) McCoys (Thai Sweet Chicken Flavour): 30.3%
                        20=) Quavers (Cheese Flavour): 30.0%

                        20=) Quavers (Salt 'n' Vinegar Flavour): 30/0%
                        22) KP Discos (Salt 'n' Vinegar Flavour): 29.6%
                        23) KP Skips (Prawn Cocktail Flavour): 29.5%
                        24) Hula Hoops (Roast Chicken Flavour): 28.6g
                        25) Hula Hoops (Barbecue Beef Flavour): 28.5g

                        26 Hula Hoops (Original Flavour): 28.4g
                        27) Golden Wonder Wheat Crunchies (Crispy Bacon flavour): 25.1%
                        27) Golden Wonder Wheat Crunchies (Worcester Sauce flavour): 25.1%
                        29=) Golden Wonder Wheat Crunchies (Spicy Tomato flavour): 25.0%
                        29=) Monster Munch (Pickled Onion Flavour): 25.0%

                        31) Sainsbury's Taste The Difference (Sea Salt And Cider Vinegar flavour): 24.9%
                        32=) Smith's Chipsticks: 23.0%
                        33=) Smith's Frazzles: 23.0%
                        34) Space Raiders: 22.8%
                        35) Red Sky (Anglesey Sea Salt flavour): 21.8%

                        36) Red Sky (West Country Bacon & Cream Cheese flavour): 20.9%
                        37) Sainsbury's Bacon Crispies (20.6%)
                        38) Walkers Squares (Salt and Vinegar flavour): 18.0%
                        39) Walkers French Fries (Ready Salted / Cheese and Onion / Salt and Vinegar flavours): 16.0%
                        40) Walker Baked (Sour Cream and Chive flavour): 8.7%

                        41) Walkers Baked (Bacon and Cheddar flavour): 8.5%
                        42) Walkers Baked (Cheese and Onion flavour): 8.3%
                        43) Walkers Baked (Salt and Vinegar flavour): 8.1%
                        44) Ryvita Limbos (Salt and Vinegar flavour): 1.9%

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                        • Sainsbury's Hot Dog / Meat / Fish / 57 Readings / 56 Ratings
                          More +
                          08.06.2010 09:09
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                          Average Hot Dog

                          Wanting to do something quick and easy for tea on Saturday I decided to do some hot dogs and onion and duly popped down to Sainsbury's to get what I needed....

                          Packaging:

                          The can contains 8 hot dog sausages in brine. The label is predominantly blue in colour and has a picture of some hot dogs with tomato sauce on them on the front. The back of the can contains the ingredients, nutritional information, contact details and cooking information. These hot dogs are suitable for stove top and microwave heating. The label also states that this product contains no GM ingredients.

                          The website address is:- www.sainsburys.co.uk


                          Ingredients:

                          Pork (51%), Water, Chicken (14%), Potato Starch, Salt, Pork Collagen, Herbs and Spices (contains Celery), Beef Collagen, Dextrose, Natural Smoke Flavour, Preservative (Sodium Nitrate), Citric Acid, Brine: Water, Salt


                          Nutritional Information per hot dog {per 100g in brackets}

                          Energy kJ: 205kJ {890kJ}
                          Calories: 45kcal {197kcal}
                          Protein: 1.9g {8.4g}
                          Carbohydrate: 1.3g {5.5g}
                          Fat: 3.6g {15.7g}
                          of which saturates: 0.8g {3.6g}
                          of which mono-unsaturates: 1.1g {4.6g}
                          of which polyunsaturates: 1.0g {4.3g}
                          Fibre: Trace {Trace}
                          Salt: 0.2g {0.8g}
                          of which sodium: 0.1g {0.3g}

                          Dietary & Allergy Information

                          Contains celery (Not suitable for milk or soya allergy sufferers due to the methods used in the manufacture of this product)
                          This is a gluten free product


                          Price:
                          I paid the sum of 75p for a can of these at Sainsburys


                          Taste and Opinion:

                          These Sainsburys hot dogs look pretty much the same as most other hot dogs that are available in cans. They're around 10cms long and 1cm across and are a medium brown in colour. Tipping two cans into a pan to heat I also fried some onions to add to them.

                          The first thing I noticed about these hot dogs once they had heated was how much "sturdier" (for want of a better word) they are than some of the cheaper brands. I generally use a fork to get them out of the pan once they've been heated and with some of the cheaper brands you can guarantee that at least a few of them will "snap" as soon as you insert the fork into them. However, out of the 16 hot dog sausages I cooked not one of them snapped when I inserted the fork which I was quite surprised about.

                          I kept a couple of these to one side for the purpose of this review as I wanted to see what they tasted like without having a bread finger, onions and sauce surrounding them. Actually they don't taste too bad. There's a hint of a "smoky" flavour but it's not so strong that you'd find it off-putting. They do taste like meat (as you'd expect) but,. to be honest, you can't actually put your finger on what sort of meat they taste like. I wonder whether this is down to the fact that they've mixed chicken in with the pork for the recipe? I couldn't really detect any sort of taste in terms of the herbs and spices listed in the ingredients so these are not strongly flavoured at all.

                          They do have a nice, firm consistency without being overly chewy and when combined with a bread finger, onions and sauce make a nice, quick, easy to cook, filling meal.

                          In nutritional terms they are comprised of 15.7% fat which isn't great, although this is less in percentage terms than you'd find in a lot of crisp ranges. Overall, I'd say that these are just "ok" in taste terms although I'm impressed that they don't break up like some of the cheaper brands do.

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                          • More +
                            07.06.2010 09:11
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                            A Weak Ending To The Key To Time Season

                            I've finally reached the last story in the Key To Time season....


                            Plot:

                            Having successfully secured the first five segments of the Key To Time the TARDIS attempts to materialise on the planet of Atrios to enable the Doctor and Romana to hunt down the sixth and final segment. But something strange is happening ~ Atrios isn't in the orbit it should be in and the time travellers are unable to see its twin planet of Zeos.

                            Finally materialising on Atrios the Doctor and Romana discover that the planet is engaged in a nuclear war with its twin planet. The war is directed by the Marshal, a man intent of victory at any price which is in stark contrast to the Princess Astra and her boyfriend Merak who are attempting to contact the people on Zeos to negotiate for peace.

                            Things become more complicated when Astra is supposedly kidnapped by the Zeons but when The Doctor and his friends arrive on Zeos they find the whole planet deserted......



                            Cast:

                            The Doctor - Tom Baker
                            Romana - Mary Tamm
                            Voice of K9 - John Leeson
                            Marshal - John Woodvine
                            Princess Astra - Lalla Ward
                            Shapp - Davyd Harries
                            Merak - Ian Saynor
                            Drax - Barry Jackson
                            The Shadow - William Squire
                            The Guardian - Valentine Dyall
                            'Hero' - Ian Liston
                            'Heroine' - Susan Skipper
                            Guard - John Cannon
                            Guard - Harry Fielder
                            Pilot - Pat Gorman
                            Technician - Iain Armstrong

                            Writers: Bob Baker and Dave Martin
                            Producer: Graham Williams
                            Director: Michael Hayes


                            Extras (Disc 1):

                            + Commentary 1: With Mary Tamm (Romana), John Woodvine (Marshal) and director Michael Hayes
                            + Commentary 2: With Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana) and John Leeson (K9)

                            + Coming Soon: A trailer for the Tom Baker story Planet Of Evil

                            + Production Subtitles: Masses of information about the making of The Armageddon Factor and the cast and crew that worked on it.

                            + Doctor Who Annual: View the entire 1979 Doctor Who annual on your PC or Mac in PDF format.

                            + Radio Times Listings: View the Radio Times listings for the episodes on your PC or Mac.


                            Extras (Disc 2)

                            + Defining Shadows: A feature lasting just under 16 minutes in which cast and crew shares their thoughts on The Armageddon Factor. Those being interviewed are Mary Tamm (Romana), Lalla Ward (Princess Astra), Davyd Harries (Shapp), Barry Jackson (Drax), writers Bob Baker and Dave Martin, script editor Anthony Read, director Michael Hayes and designer Richard McManan-Smith

                            + Alternative / Extended Scene: A time-coded monochrome sequence lasting just under three minutes taken from the studio recording.

                            + Directing Who: Director Michael Hayes talks about his directing work on The Androids Of Tara, The Armageddon Factor and City Of Death.

                            + Rogue Time Lords: Script editor Terrance Dicks, writers Pip and Jane Baker, Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), Tom Spilsbury (Doctor Who Magazine editor) and Moray Laing and Paul Lang (from Doctor Who Adventures) discuss the evil Timelords that the series has featured in this extra lasting just over 13 minutes.

                            + Pebble Mill at One: Tom Baker is interviewed on the magazine show in this feature last 8 and a half minutes. It features clips from various Doctor Who stories.

                            + Radiophonic Feature: A feaurette lasting almost 4 and a half minutes looking at the music and effects used in Doctor Who. Features Dick Mills and Brian Hodgson.

                            + The New Sound Of Music: A short piece, lasting just over a minute showing how Dick Mills creates sound effects for Doctor Who.

                            + Merry Christmas, Doctor Who: A short sketch lasting just over one minute which was recorded during the making of The Armageddon Factor for inclusion on the 1978 BBC Christmas tape.

                            + Continuities: The BBC1 continuity announcements screened before the original transmission of the story.

                            + Photo Gallery: Just under five minutes worth of photos from The Armageddon Factor.

                            + Late Night Story: Tom Baker narrates five spine chillers: The Photograph, The Emissary, Nursery Tea, The End Of The Party and Sredni Vashtar from the 1978 TV series. Each story lasts around 15 minutes although the last one was never broadcast due to a BBC strike.

                            + Easter Egg


                            Opinion:

                            Originally broadcast in January and February 1979 The Armageddon Factor is a very cheap looking story. This is hardly surprising given the rate of inflation in Britain in the 1970s coupled with the fact that it was the final story of season sixteen.

                            Thematically it takes much of its inspiration from World War II. The Marshal's dogged determination not to give in to Zeos has echoes of Winston Churchill and The Marshal's speeches to his people which are broadcast on the television are delivered in much the same manner as Churchill's wartime speeches. The people of Atrios are also keen on recycling metal, in much the same way as the British were, and this almost leads to K9 being destroyed.

                            Perhaps the best thing about the story is William Squire's performance as The Shadow. With a menacing appearance in a black robe and a mask which hides most of his face I can well imagine him scaring loads of kids in the 1970s. The fact that he has a voice made for evil roles just adds to the overall impact of the character. We don't actually learn very much about The Shadow, beyond the fact that he serves the Black Guardian and that he claims to have watched The Doctor's actions with interest and is more patient than he is.

                            For once K9 gets to do something a little different when he's the only "person" who can interact with a computer called Mentalis. This makes a nice change from his usual functions of answering questions, cutting through doors or walls and stunning various people with his lazer beam.

                            Unfortunately the rest of the story is a bit of a letdown. The Armageddon Factor runs for around 2 hours and 24 minutes and something of that length really needs a script with engages and holds the interest, especially, if like me, you're planning on watching the entire story in one block. The guest cast, with the exceptions of John Woodvine (Marshal) and William Squire (The Shadow) is weak and insipid. The main culprits on this front are Ian Saynor who's character of Merak is so wet it's surprising he doesn't leave puddles of water behind him when he walks and Davyd Harries as Shapp who's acting varies from just about acceptable to something that you'd expect to find in an amateur dramatic production.

                            Merak spends most of the story mooning over Princess Astra and attempting to track her down once she'd been kidnapped by the "Zeons". There's no real problem with that as such, but it's more of an aimless, self pitying type of searching rather than something strong and proactive driven by his love and passion for Astra. In one scene he manages to get the tracer from Romana only for him to give it back to her later when she almost twists his arm off. Mary Tamm isn't the most hefty or physically strong actress in the world and the fact that you're left believing that Romana could wrest the tracer back from Merak speaks volumes about how physically weak his character appears.

                            Barry Jackson, now better known as Doctor Bullard in Midsomer Murders, appears as Cockney Timelord Drax, a contemporary of The Doctor's during his time at the Academy on Gallifrey. The character as a whole really doesn't work for me. The Cockney accent (which is bad enough in itself) just seems out of place for a Timelord despite the fact he's supposedly spent time in prison on Earth and he has more of a market trader persona, somewhat reminiscent of Del Boy from Only Fools And Horses rather than the usual serious, somewhat detached persona that previous Timelords who had appeared in the series had.

                            There's no location filming used in the story and the sets used don't really add anything to the production. Genesis Of The Daleks also features a war between two races (albeit inhabitants of the same planet) but the sets in that story were sleek, stylish and were lit to add to the atmosphere of the piece, whereas the ones in The Armageddon Factor fail to give any sort of lift to the production. The special effects are adequate for the time and, on the plus side, there aren't any monsters used which are obviously men masquerading in some sort of rubber suits.

                            Watching it in one go I found my attention flagging and at various points during the story was more interested in the Production Subtitles rather than what was happening on the screen. The pacing was slow, the characters were dull and I found the storyline as a whole rather uninteresting which is a pity as, on the whole, I rather like the stories that Bob Baker and Dave Martin have written for the show.

                            This DVD release comes with 2 discs, the first of which contains all 6 episodes of The Armageddon Factor along with a few extras. The second disc is completely full of extras of varying interest. I particularly enjoyed Late Night Story as it wasn't something that I'd seen before and it isn't the usual type of thing that you get as an extra on a Doctor Who DVD.

                            I also found the Defining Shadows extra interesting, mainly because I like to see and hear what the people who worked on the various stories thought about them and, of course, you quite often find things out about the story that you didn't know already. I had to laugh at part of this when Dave Martin (one of the writers) is talking about the end of the story. He states that he and Bob Baker didn't actually write the ending because:- "Graham (the producer) had told us that they would wrap up the story because only they knew whether the Black Guardian or White Guardian would triumph. We were just there to entertain the crowd in the meantime." Unfortunately they didn't do a very good job of entertaining me.

                            The Michael Hayes extra is also quite good and has a nice, fairly funny story about him and various people on his team wrestling with a camera lens on the Paris shoot for City Of Death. And the Rogue Timelords extra gives a nice overview of the series and would, I think, be quite interesting to those people who may have only seen bits of the Classic Series as it gives a fair amount of information, along with some clips of other stories in the Classic Series.

                            The Production Subtitles are, as always, excellent and contain lots of information about the background to the story, the filming process and the cast and crew that worked on it. As I said, at certain points, it's more interesting than what's happening on the screen! There is also an "Easter Egg" on this release which, for those of you that don't know is a hidden extra on the disc. I'll leave it up to you to discover how to access it and what it is. However if you're having problems finding it this website may be of assistance:-

                            http://www.dwwa.net/dwvwe/dvd/eggs/eggs.html


                            This story is not available on its own on Region 2 and can only be purchased along with the other five stories in the Key To Time boxset. As a whole the season is quite variable. I'd say that there are two good stories (The Stones Of Blood and The Androids Of Tara), one average story (The Ribos Operation) and three below average stories (The Pirate Planet, The Power Of Kroll and The Armageddon Factor). Amazon and Tesco are currently selling the boxset for £29.47, meaning you pay less than £5 per story which is rather good value as Doctor Who releases go.





                            Format: PAL
                            Region: Region 2
                            Number of discs: 7
                            Classification: PG
                            Studio: 2 entertain
                            DVD Release Date: 16 Nov 2009


                            Websites you may find useful:

                            http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/

                            http://www.restoration-team.co.uk/

                            http://www.dwwa.net/dwvwe/dvd/eggs/eggs.html


                            Dooyoo rankings for The Key To Time (Season 16)

                            01=) The Stones Of Blood (4 Dooyoo stars)
                            01=) The Androids Of Tara (4 Dooyoo stars
                            03) The Ribos Operation (3 Dooyoo stars)
                            04) The Power Of Kroll (2 Dooyoo stars)
                            05) The Armageddon Factor (2 Dooyoo stars)
                            06) The Pirate Planet (2 Dooyoo stars)

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