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sketchit
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      02.09.2011 18:27
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      A good bog-standard bourbon budget buy.

      I'm not normally an Asda shopper I must admit. However, being a starving *ahem* university student and having lovely friends who offer me bourbon biscuits (One of my favorites) that were brought for them among other food items by a visiting family member, I put this simple fact aside and decide to sample one to see if they are any different to the Sainsburys basics ones I usually buy.

      WHERE TO BUY, WHAT YOU GET AND COST.

      Asda Smartprice bourbons are obviously only available from Asda (Obviously) and you get 200g (Around 10 - 12 biscuits I believe...) for the princely sum of just 23p! Now that is good value in my opinion particularly if your have a house of hungry, biscuit mad, munching children to feed. However, due to the fact that there were only 10 - 12 biscuits in a pack, they probably wont last very long but as I mentioned before, for the sake of 23p, you can afford to put a couple of packs in the trolley. For comparison purposes, Sainsburys basics bourbons come in a 400g pack which costs 50p so Asda comes out on top of the value for money stakes (Buy 4 pence!) if we take into account the cost when buying two 200g packs. Interestingly, the more *premium* (EG: Not Sainsburys basics) bourbons cost 50p for a 200g pack so if you buy the basics ones, you get double the biccies for nothing.

      PACKAGING.

      The packaging of Asda Smartprice bourbons is hardly likely to make you jump up and down with excitement but who cares to be honest. You eat the biscuit not the packaging. Anyway, the biscuits come in a simple, bog-standard, white plastic packet with green writing on the front stating what you get in the pack along with a cup of steaming tea (As many people are fond of biscuits with a hot drink). Its not going to change lives but it keeps the biscuits relatively well protected (There were a couple on the top with broken corners but nothing major as this tends to happen with all biscuits anyway). Again, to compare, Sainsburys basics also come packaged in a very similar way except in a larger pack and with orange writing instead of green.

      WHAT THEY LOOK AND SMELL LIKE.

      Hmm. How to describe an Asda Smartprice bourbon in a way that hasn't been done before...This is difficult as these biscuits look EXACTLY like any other bourbon biscuit. If you don't know what this looks like then it is a finger shape biscuit that comprises of two biscuits stuck together by a heavenly chocolate buttercream substance. Bourbons are brown in colour (Due to being chocolate flavoured) and have little pin marks pricked around the outside of each biscuit and the word "Bourbon" written on each. Some seem to have the odd few granules of sugar stuck to them too but by no means are they sugar coated and they are probably around 2 inches in length. They smell chocolately and sweet although these bourbons did have a slightly artificial cocoa type smell about them as opposed to a rich chocolatey aroma (But for 23p, I wasn't expecting the latter to be honest).

      WHAT IS IN THEM AND NUTRITIONAL CONTENT.

      The ingredients list for Asda Smartprice bourbons is as follows:

      Wheat Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Oil and Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Glucose Syrup, Dextrose, Wheat Starch, Raising Agents (Sodium Bicarbonate, Ammonium Bicarbonate), Salt, Flavourings.
      No Colours or Preservatives.

      This is pretty much as standard but it pleased me to know that no colours or preservatives were used as the less rubbish like that we have in our diets, the better. The fat reduced cocoa powder was no real surprise either if you go on to read the taste part of my review. The calories per 100g are 479 with 21.4g of fat (12.8g being saturated). This translates as 65 calories a biscuit with 2.9g of fat (1.7g saturated) so it is hardly a healthy food item but lets be honest, who consumes bourbons expecting them to be a substitute for carrots?! They aren't the largest of biscuits by any stretch of the imagination so it is probably easy to get carried away if there is an open packet laying around for too long. The nutritional values for the Sainsburys basics equivalent were, surprise surprise, exactly the same.

      TASTE.

      For the price of these biscuits, I must say, I was surprised. They were by no means inedible but eating them wasn't exactly the highlight of my day. Upon biting into my biscuit treat, I was greeted by a gritty crumbly textured biscuit that fractured in various places as I bit. I chose not to dunk mine in a hot drink but my friend who did found pieces of bourbon floating conspicuously in her cup of tea which somewhat put her off. I therefore wouldn't recommend these as being durable enough not to disintegrate upon dunking. The taste wasn't tremendously unpleasant but it was quite artificial and the cocoa element was weak and underwhelming. The generally graininess of the biscuit left your mouth feeling a little strange and dry afterwards and I ended up having to have a drink after eating just one of these but if you choose to consume these biscuits with a drink, this won't be a problem. The buttercream sandwiching the two biscuits together was actually more pleasant than the biscuit itself as it had more chocolate/cocoa flavour than the biscuit but it was let down a little due to the fact it was exceptionally sweet and had detectable, gritty sugary bits in it (Although I feel it would be practically impossible for a biscuit to contain 4.1g of the stuff and for it not to have a slightly grainy/bitty texture). One or two would personally be enough to cure a sugar craving for me as I think I'd be getting a toothache or end up bouncing off the walls if I ate many more. Although the ingredients and nutrition lists for the Asda Smartprice and Sainsburys basics bourbons are basically identical, I feel that there is a stronger yet less artificially sweet chocolate/cocoa taste in the Sainsburys ones. They also seem to have a more pleasing, less crumbly consistency when compared to the Asda ones.

      SUMMERY.

      For those in search of something to fill a biscuit barrel with, you can't really go wrong with these. They are cheap, sweet, appeal to most palates, are relatively satisfying and are sure to go down a storm with young children in particular. For 23p, you would be hard pressed to find a biccie that was better value for money in my opinion. I'd personally stick to Sainsburys basic bourbons due to them being less crumbly and artificially sweet but those with a real sweet tooth may prefer the sweeter biccie.

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      14.01.2011 17:36
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      If you want gourmet, go elsewhere.

      Everyone in society today knows what McDonalds is unless they do not leave their house! I believe that it is the worlds biggest fast-food chain restaurant and there are an astonishing 1200 restaurants in the UK alone and they are looking to open a further 30 establishments with all featuring a drive thru this year! Over the last decade or so, the McDonalds empire has expanded enormously and have faced a lot of criticism over their food, the nutritional content in them and the ingredients that are used to make them. I think a lot of the criticism that McDonalds face is a little bit unfair because lets be honest, they are a fast food restaurant which specialises in offering cheap, fast meals and it would be ludicrous to expect the best quality meals and ingredients for the prices that they charge! My generation are very familiar with the presence of McDonalds in society and I certainly recognise it from my childhood. When I was younger, McDonalds did not offer an extensive vegetarian menu and I have been a vegetarian since the age of 6 (All of my family are veggies and provided my sisters and me with eating meat or opting for the veggie lifestyle and we are all veggies) so I was very limited on what I could eat and usually had to make do with the fries or an ice-cream sundae but over 12 years, McDonalds has definitely changed!

      RESTAURANT DECOR AND LAY-OUT.

      I am not a McDonalds regular and was unfortunately forced to visit one yesterday after a trip to the cinema with my friends and all of our regular favourite (Slightly more gourmet!) restaurants being absolutely packed! I had not ventured into a McDonalds restaurant for years and years so was quite surprised to see that this particular one had been refurbished quite dramatically since my last visit. The tables were fixed to the floor, were white in colour and reminded me of something you would find in an American diner. The seats were also fixed to the floor so were unable to be moved, something which I found quite annoying! This table arrangement also meant that you were unable to sit exclusive from other groups of people and we had a very noisy group of teenagers come and sit near my group of friends and me, preventing us from hearing each other when we were trying to talk. There were a few tables which were secluded away in booth type arrangements but these were sadly all taken. The decor was bright with orange, red and white walls and bold canvas prints of McDonalds food (None of it resembling what my friends and me had in front of us however). The tables were all fairly clean and there was a boy going round cleaning vacant ones but there was still a few that had empty wrappers and cardboard packaging on them. One of the bins which was located quite near to us was also nearly overflowing with rubbish which was a little disconcerting too. The toilet were very modern and clean which did pleasantly surprise me. They were obviously being cleaned regularly and I even saw a cleaner coming out of the ladies toilet as I entered. I give McDonalds decor and lay-out 3 out of 5.

      SERVICE.

      This is something which in my opinion has never been McDonalds strong point. I always seem to get served by someone who clearly does not want to be working there or that does not speak a good standard English and unfortunately, the other day was no exception. A very grumpy lady served me and looked like I had asked her to slice off her arm with a hack saw when I simply asked her politely if the new cherry pies were suitable for vegetarians! However, two of my other friends were served by a teenage boy who was very polite and friendly - an obvious exception to the rule! We did get served quickly though and our orders were all correct but I have known this particular McDonalds to sometimes get orders wrong or to miss things off altogether but I guess it is easy to make mistakes when it gets very busy (Which to be fair, this branch in particular does at peak time as it is located in a very busy city centre). However, if you go back to the counter and explain that something is incorrect or missing, the staff are always more than happy (Most of the time!) to rectify the problem. I give McDonalds service 2 out of 5.

      THE FOOD.

      This is were McDonalds really comes unstuck in my opinion. Whilst I appreciate that gourmet food is not going to be achievable at the prices that McDonalds charge, the quality and presentation of the food really is quite poor. I had not eaten anything all day except a bowl of porridge and a few sweets at the cinema before eating this particular meal so I was obviously quite hungry (And hopeful that this would numb my taste buds into believing that the food I was eating didn't taste quite so foul!). Anyway, my order consisted of a spicy veggie deli, a fruit bag and a cherry pie. The spicy veggie deli isn't available in all areas but you really are not missing much! The patty, despite supposedly containing chickpeas did not have even the slightest taste of chickpea and was bland, rubbery and not even slightly spicy. The salad (Lettuce, cucumber and tomato) was limp and the bread roll it came it was very chewy and stodgy, and I think I ate about one third of this before deciding enough was enough. The fruit bag was without a doubt the best part of the meal. This consisted of pieces of apple and red grapes which where all very juicy and fresh. The bag which the fruit came in was actually quite generous inside and I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of fruit which was contained in the bag. The cherry pie was hideous. There was no nice was to describe it other than that I'm afraid. The outer pastry was okay, fairly well cooked with a sweet, sugary topping but the cherry filling was the awful. It was incredibly sweet and I didn't detect a single whole cherry in the entire 4 mouthfuls I took of the pie. The filling was very runny and reminded me of very cheap jam and I wished I'd stuck with the apple pie to be honest as at least that is slightly more palatable than this! I had Tropicana to drink and in all honesty, I wish I'd just stuck with that and the fruit bag! Two of my friends had the traditional Big Mac meal with chips, another one had a chicken and bacon deli sandwich with chips and the other two had the chicken legend with bacon and chips and they all seemed quite satisfied with their meals although those who had bacon in their burger/deli said that it was fatty and quite salty although this shouldn't really be surprising as it is probably highly processed and cheap. I tried a chip or two and they were as salty, limp and fatty as I remembered from when I was a child and left me wanting to guzzle back a drink! It is only fair to commend McDonalds on the wide variety of food that the offer though; beef, chicken and fish all feature in various forms on the menu (With the chicken being found in nugget and 'select' strip forms as well as traditional burgers and fish fingers too) as well as a childrens Happy Meal menu where you get a burger/fish fingers/chicken nuggets, a small side order such as chips, a drink and toy in a box. There is a limited number of salads on the menu but these apparently contain just as much salt as a regular Big Mac if you put dressing on too which is quite frightening really. A good range of desserts including apple and cherry pies, McFlurry, ice-cream sundaes, brownies, muffins and donuts are offered and I usually find these the most appetising on the McDonalds menu - I'm hoping the awful cherry pie incident was an isolated one! McDonalds also two "Little Tasters" wraps which are more of a snack/lighter bite item from what I can gather. These do not look too bad actually but they sadly feature meat so will be off-limits for veggies like me. This also leads nicely onto the lack of choices on the menu for veggie visitors too. These are so insignificant in fact, that I do not believe there is anything other than the veggie deli I had and this is not even available in all areas of the UK! This really is not good enough in my opinion and McDonalds need to do more to their menu to appeal to their vegetarian visitors. There is a breakfast menu too but I am yet to experience any of the joys which McDonalds has to offer from this although one of my friends has assured me that she will be treating me to one this weekend so I may update this review depending on whether I live to tell the tale or not...I give McDonalds a score of 1 out 5 for their food.

      NUTRITION.

      The words McDonalds and nutrition should not really be mentioned in the same sentence together really. It is fast food so is not going to be good for you although I was a little shocked at just HOW bad for you some of their food is. My spicy veggie deli contained 555kcal, 21 grams of fat (5 grams of which is saturated) and a gigantic 2.4 grams of salt. For something which is not only very bland but contains a fairly simple (And disgusting) blend of chickpeas, that really is awful. The fruit bag was obviously low calorie with 40kcal in an 80 gram bag. This is about average for something of this size but you can't really add or take anything away from plain and simple fruit to be honest! The cherry pie contained a whopping 255kcal, 14 grams of fat (3 grams of which is saturated) and a surprising 0.5 grams of salt. Considering that the pie is about 6 inches in length, I feel that the calorie content really is quite high - for a sweet treat, it really isn't worth the calories! The Big Mac featured a gut busting 490 calories, 24 grams of fat (10 grams of which is saturated) and 2.1 grams of salt. This is about what I expected for two pieces of processed meat in a soggy bap to be honest but it can't distract you from the horrifically high salt content! The chicken and bacon deli sandwich featured 405kcal, 13 grams of fat (5 grams of which is saturated) and a slightly better 1.9 grams of salt. This is slightly better than the Big Mac but is still pretty bad! The Chicken Legend with bacon has 590kcal, 23 grams of fat (3 grams of which is saturated) and 2.6 grams of salt. I believe that this is probably the worst choice out of the lot nutritionally as it was probably the smallest burger/sandwich yet packed the most calories and salt in. Finally, a regular portion of McDonalds famous fries will set you back 330kcal, 16 grams of fat (2 grams of which is saturated) and 0.6 grams of fat. I'm really quite surprised that the salt content in the chips isn't higher due to the awful salty after taste that they leave in your mouth. Full nutritional information of all products which McDonalds sell can be found here on the McDonalds website: www.mcdonalds.co.uk . I give McDonalds 1 out of 5 for the awful nutritional content of their products.

      PRICES.

      Overall McDonalds prices are not at all bad. I can't for the life of me remember exactly how much my meal cost and I can't find prices online but I believe my cherry pie cost around £1.19 and the deli sandwich was around £2.69. Although I didn't enjoy the food, I didn't think the amount you got was bad for how much they were charging! Like I said, my friends all enjoyed their meals and were all happy to pay what they did, which was around £5-£6 for a full meal and a drink. McDonalds do apparently charge slightly more for seasonal items such as their festive burgers and special/limited edition McFlurrys. Although the food is fairly cheap, I do find that the food wasn't particularly good value due to it being poor quality and unappetising. I give McDonalds a 2.5 out for their prices.

      OVERALL.

      If you enjoy fast food and are not particularly fussy about the nutritional content in foods, it is definitely quite likely that you will enjoy McDonalds, however, if you are slightly more inclined to eat healthier, more appetising fresh foods, I suggest you give them a very wide berth.

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      • More +
        02.01.2011 22:07
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        Gorgeous, delicious, nutritious bread!

        I am probably the worlds biggest Soreen fan. I am not joking. I ADORE it. It is somewhat of an acquired taste as it is quite heavy and packed with big, fat, juicy raisins which not everyone is keen on but I love it. It is very versatile and can be enjoyed with butter (Most people like it this way), jam or cheese according to the Soreen website. I do not like cheese so have never tried this and to be honest, I cant really see how its malty, quite sweet taste would compliment cheese but I will not quibble if this is how people enjoy this delicious product. Personally I enjoy mine just cut straight from the loaf without butter on although it is very nice with custard too. You can of course, toast it or warm it up too - the possibilities are endless!

        WHERE TO BUY, WHAT YOU GET AND COST.

        Soreen is very widely available and can be brought from most good supermarkets. Mine is brought from either Waitrose or Sainsburys depending on whether I'm at home or at university and costs around 70p which is excellent value for money for such a delicious, substantial product in my opinion. The loaf weighs 220 grams and is uncut.

        PACKAGING.

        Soreen comes in a bright yellow plastic wrapper with its brand name on the front and bunches of grapes around it for decoration. The grapes obviously are an indication on what the product contains - raisins and currents! The packet is fairly easy to open although I do sometimes have difficulty getting the Soreen loaf out of it as it is quite sticky and does sometimes cling to the packet, thus making me rip it open. Because of this I usually have to store my loaf in an airtight container to prevent it going hard although I have just stored it in the packet with a plastic food bag over the top and it kept fine.

        WHAT IT LOOKS AND SMELLS LIKE.

        Soreen is very dark in colour and appears to look almost burnt. It has an outer crust layer as all breads and cakes do and you can see glorious, fat raisins and currents poking their heads through it. The whole thing looks very tempting in my opinion although its dark colour may fool some people into thinking that it may taste burnt - it really doesn't! It smells very malty but there is definitely a sweet edge left there by the fruit too. The sweetness is refreshing and doesn't overpower the malt. Upon touching the loaf, you will notice its stickiness already!

        WHAT IS IN IT AND NUTRITIONAL CONTENT.

        Despite it being a bread/bakery product, Soreen is actually very good for you and is favoured by many athletes as it is packed full of carbohydrates and is a great source of energy. Because of its carbohydrate content, it is obviously important that it is enjoyed as part of an active, healthy lifestyle. Soreens contains 14% raisins, 5% malt flour and 4.5% malt extract as well as all of the usual ingredients involved in making bread therefore making it out of bounds to anyone who suffers from an intolerance to wheat or gluten. It is also unsuitable for people with a dairy allergy as it contains dried whey which is derived from cows milk. It is however, suitable for vegetarians.

        The nutritional content makes for quite pleasing reading, even for a dieter or someone watching their weight. 1/8th of the loaf contains just 86kcal, 0.6 grams of fat (0.3 grams being saturated), 6.2 grams of sugar and 0.3 grams of salt so providing you can stick to just 1/8th of the loaf, it is not bad for you at all! However, these values will sky rocket if you add a thick layer of butter or loads of jam or cheese so you have been warned.

        TASTE.

        Before I detail just how delicious Soreen tastes, I will take this chance to recommend, strongly recommend actually, that you use a sharp knife to cut this as with a blunt one, you will end up completely squashing the loaf and ending up with a tiny, lopsided slice. Not good.

        Anyway, using my bread knife, I cut myself a generous slice (I think mine was more like 1/5th of the loaf to be honest but I'd only had a small sandwich for lunch) of Soreen and sink my teeth straight into its sticky goodness. It is just that - sticky but delightfully malty with a gorgeous sweet edge given by the raisins and currents. The crust is blissfully well baked and gives a lovely, slightly harder bite in contrast with the soft, squidgy goodness that it wraps itself round. The sweetness is beautifully balanced with the malt and the currents are gorgeously juicy, tasty and flavoursome. All of the ingredients used compliment each other in a way that I've ever known before - they are all just so right together!

        I have tried other malt loaves in the past and all have been far less superior than Soreen. With their overly sticky bread, lack of fruit and overpowering malt, they are yet to find the blissful balance that Soreen has.

        OTHER VARIETIES OF THE PRODUCT.

        Soreen do other varieties of their gorgeous malt loaf too although I am a fan of the traditional, uncut loaf. Their other varieties are as follows:

        Soreen Snack. (This is just two slices of Soreen, buttered in a handy snack pack - brilliant for on the go!)
        Soreen Sliced.
        Soreen Cinnamon and Raisin.
        Soreen Rich Fruit.
        Soreen Fruity 5 Sliced.
        Soreen GO Bar.

        All of these products are delicious but I still recommend the traditional Soreen loaf most highly!

        SUMMERY.

        Soreen is a delicious product that, while is a bit of an acquired taste, is delicious, very nutritious and not to mention very reasonably priced! I have been eating it since I was a child and adore it and would recommend it to anyone to try! 5 stars from me - I would rate it even higher if I could!

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        • More +
          02.01.2011 16:36
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          An egg custard tart which is excellent value for money!

          I love egg custard tarts but don't eat them very often as being a bakery product they are obviously not very good for you. They are the perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of fruit tea in my opinion and taste best warm. I must say, I am most fond of my Grandmas egg custard tarts which are delightful; perfectly light pastry and nice firm custard - delicious! However, when Grandma's egg custard tarts are not available, I tend to go for the ones from Sainsburys which I've found to be the closest thing to them.

          WHERE TO BUY, WHAT YOU GET AND COST.

          Sainsburys egg custard tarts are obviously only available from Sainsburys and you can buy them in packs of 2 or 4 and the cost varies accordingly. Boxes of 2 cost 58p and boxes of 4 cost £1 so if you buy the box of 4, you are getting a tart for just 25p - exceptionally cheap for the quality that you are getting! Although these egg custard tarts are sold in Sainsburys, I have only seen them in the larger stores although I am sure there are some local stores which do them too. We brought the pack of 4 as one of my sisters is a vegan so wasn't participating in eating one of these delicious cakes!

          PACKAGING.

          Sainsburys egg custard tarts come in an attractive yellow cardboard box with varying shades of yellow scrolls and swirls for decoration on the front of it. There is also a clear plastic window on the front of it so you can see the delicious tarts that the box encloses. Each tart is individually held in a little silver case which prevents it from getting crushed and helps to keep it in shape in the box.

          WHAT THEY LOOK AND SMELL LIKE.

          In my opinion, these egg custard tarts are very attractive and traditional looking - exactly how my Grandmas look. They are a generous size, and I found it to be more than enough as it was packed deep with generous custard filling. The pastry base is a healthy, golden brown colour which looks well baked but not overdone. The custard is visible from on top of the tart and it is a lovely soft yellow colour with a slight sprinkle of nutmeg. You can tell that the custard is thick and substantial just by looking at the top of the tart in correspondence with the depth of the tart. All this makes for very pleasing (And appetising!) viewing and it is without a doubt a very tempting looking tart! When you open the box, you are not hit with a very custard-y or overly sweet aroma which is nice as with some egg custard tarts I've had, they can smell a bit sickly sweet.

          WHAT IS IN THEM AND NUTRITIONAL CONTENT.

          Being a bakery product, egg custard tarts are not going to be good for you but if you are looking to consume a healthy product then you wouldn't have selected them. They are made using free range eggs which is a massive plus for me as I'm a vegetarian and very keen on knowing that products that I'm consuming are made using responsibly sourced products and no animals were harmed or subject to suffering. The ingredients that the tarts contain are as follows:

          Egg Custard Filling (61%) (Whole Milk (From Cows' Milk), Egg, Sugar, Flavouring, Colour (Beta Carotene), Salt), Wheat Flour, Vegetable and Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils, Sugar, Egg, Emulsifier (Mono and Diglyceries of Fatty Acids), Nutmeg, Salt, Dextrose, Colour (Beta Carotene), Acridity Regulator (Citric Acid).

          Considering that egg custard tarts contain pastry and custard, two fairly calorific things, I was quite surprised by the nutritional content of them and expected it to be much worse. Per egg custard tart you are looking at 244kcal, 10.7 grams of fat (4 grams saturated), 14.6 grams of sugar and 0.1 grams of salt. Although the sugar content is far from desirable, it is to be expected for such a sweet, delicious bakery product.

          They are suitable for vegetarians but not people that are intolerant to gluten, eggs or dairy.

          TASTE.

          Upon breaking open my egg custard tart, I found that the pastry was of the perfect structure and consistency, not too crumbly or firm and the custard wasn't sloppy and messy like some egg custard tarts are and there was barely any crumbs or custard split from where my spoon had indented the tart. My taste buds were greeted by an explosion of sweet, firm custard that wasn't sloppy and gloopy and didn't fall apart straight away. Whilst it was sweet, it didn't taste artificial or cheap in the slightest and the short, buttery pastry complimented this perfectly. Again, the pastries firmness was held whilst it was in your mouth and I also found it to be pleasantly moist and not dry and crumbly like some tart bases are. There is a hint of nutmeg although I feel that the tart would have benefited from having a little more of this to give it slightly more of a home-made, authentic taste as towards the end of consuming the tart, it began to taste a little bland.

          SUMMERY.

          Overall I was very impressed with Sainsburys egg custard tarts. They are superb value for money and taste delicious, if a little bland towards the end of the tart due to the lack of nutmeg and other spices used. However, you could possibly add this to the top of the tart at your own leisure and this may sort this problem out. I would definitely recommend trying these as they are the best supermarket brought egg custard tarts that I've tasted but for now, its four stars to these delicious products!

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          • Review of the Year 2010 / Discussion / 42 Readings / 40 Ratings
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            01.01.2011 13:32
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            2010 was a pretty good year!

            Well 2010 over! It was quite an eventful year for me for many reasons and I am about to share a few of those reasons with you now. I hope 2011 is a happy, healthy and successful year for all of the members of DooYoo! :)

            1) What did you do in 2010 that you have not done before?
            Lived on my own in university! Well not really on my own as I live in halls but without my parents. It was very scary initially and I thought that everything in terms of housekeeping etc was completely wrong and I was going to end up with shrunk clothes if I washed them on a high setting, starving because my cooking wasn't up to scratch and without any friends! Very dramatic but I'm pleased to say I that I haven't shrunk a single item of clothing or burnt a dish I've cooked so far! And I've made lots of lovely friends too. :)

            2) Did anyone close to you give birth?
            No, sadly not. My half brother and his girlfriend found out they were expecting though but their baby isn't due until March.

            3) Did anyone close to you die?
            No thankfully.

            4) What countries did you visit?
            I visited Florida, USA on a school trip in March and Cuba in August with my family.

            5) What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
            More self confidence and belief.

            6) What dates will you remember from 2010?
            23rd August when I got my A-Level results! I'm pleased to say that I remember the date for the right reasons and they were good. 5th June was also a very good day/night as I was celebrating my birthday which had been earlier that week. It was a very eventful night but also very funny and one that I'll never forget!

            7) Did you suffer illness or injury?
            I entered 2010 with a broken collarbone if that counts lol! I've also suffered from Anorexia this year but I'm now on my way to recovery. Still a long way away from being totally well again but hopefully on my way. :)

            8) What was the best thing you bought?
            I'm really, really not sure!

            9) Whose behaviour has merited celebration?
            My Mum. If you read my other review about a letter to her, a lot of why I would say this is explained in there. She really is one in an absolute billion though.

            10) Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
            Many, many peoples. None I'm thankful to say are in my circle of friends or associates but the behaviour of Mary Bell (Lady who put the cat in the bin) appalled me and the current ongoing case of the murder of Joanna Yeates I find particularly tragic as it happened so close to Christmas and it was such a strange situation that she disappeared under.

            11) Where did most of your money go?
            Not sure again!

            12) What song will you remember from 2010?
            Come Around Sundown - Kings of Leon. I'm a huge fan of theirs and this song has such a positive, feel good vibe about it and I can always rely on it to pick me up if I'm feeling down or need cheering up.

            13) Compared to this time last year are you happier, fitter, more productive?
            Definitely happier and more productive. I'm very happy with my life at the moment. I'm not sure about fitter really, my fitness hasn't really changed from last year to be honest! I've had to be more productive because of starting university and don't really have anyone to chew my ear to get things done, so I'm now finding my productivity levels have soared haha!

            14) What do you wish you had done more of?
            Relaxed and taken more time to do things for myself rather than trying to please unhappy, ungrateful people although that now probably makes me sound very selfish!

            15) What do you wish you had done less of?
            See above lol! I tried to please too many people at the expense of my own happiness and wellbeing which really wasn't worth it in the long run. Still, you live and learn don't you?!

            16) What was your favourite TV programme?
            This probably sounds very odd coming from the mouth of an 18 year old girl but I adore Countryfile on BBC 1 on a Sunday evening! I find all things to do with the countryside fascinating and I really enjoy all of the articles that they address. It's nice to get a TV show that doesn't show stupid, pointless things for the sake of filling airtime and I find this quite refreshing.

            17) Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate last year?
            Thankfully, no.

            18) What's been the best book of 2010?
            I haven't really had much time for reading over the course of the year even though I love nothing better than to relax with a good book. I am reading one at the moment called "Cleo" by Helen Brown about how a little black cat helped to heal and unite a family after the death of a child. It's very moving, poignant and incredibly well written.

            19) What did you want and get in 2010?
            Good A-Level results.

            20) Who was the best person you met?
            I've met so many amazing people it would be impossible to pick just one!

            21) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010?
            Family are all that matters at the end of the day. They are the ones who will be there for you through thick and thin and you should only surround yourselves with people that give you the kind of love and support that they do.

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            • More +
              31.12.2010 23:17
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              My favourite shoes!

              I've adored Converse footwear for as long as I can remember. I find them so comfortable, hard wearing and versatile and have owned pairs in more colours than I care to remember! Their style is classic and timeless and celebrities can always be seen wearing them season after season. Converse are unisex and suit both men and women and come in children's sizes too so there is something for everyone in the range. The two most popular styles are the low top and high top; the high top comes above the ankle whereas the low top is cut off below the ankle. They are also widely available in most popular shoe shops such as Office and Schuh now too.

              WHERE TO BUY, WHAT YOU GET AND COST.

              As I mentioned above, Converse are widely available at most good shoe retailers now. JD Sports do a good range of colours and styles as so Foot Locker and Sole Trader in addition to Office and Schuh. I tend to always buy mine from Schuh as I find them cheapest plus there is a huge selection of colours and styles at my local branch! For my last pair of low tops I paid £34.99 at Schuh which I think is very reasonable. The high tops are £36.99 although you will pay more for special edition items or ones with detailing. I have a purple sequinned pair which cost £49.99 which I adore and purchased in the Summer of this year. Some people may consider this to be expensive for what is essentially a canvas shoe but in my experience with Converse, you can expect at least 18 months of good, solid, everyday wear out of them.

              PACKAGING.

              Converse come in a really nice, quite retro blue and beige box which features the distinctive logo on it. I keep mine to store old receipts in (Obviously only one box though (: ) but they are made of cardboard and can be widely recycled.

              WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE.

              Converse are a simple but incredibly well designed shoe in my opinion. Most styles feature the classic white sole which has a black stripe running through the middle of it. The sole is quite chunky and composed of rubber which I have always found to be very hard wearing and durable. The fact that it is white also makes it quite neutral and allows all colours of canvas to be used on the upper. The white also stands out quite effectively against bright colours too. All Converse shoes have a rubber toecap on the front too which is usually white. As I mentioned, the uppers of all Converse shoes and composed of canvas which again, is very durable. There is practically every colour available so there will be something to suit your style and taste without a doubt! I've seen everything from plain black and white to sequinned ones like mine to leopard print and neon yellow and pink! The low top style comes just below the ankle and the high top is more like a boot, fastening just above the ankle. All Converse come with white laces but are very easy to change should you wish to customise them further and add your own. I regularly put my Converse in the washing machine if they are looking a bit on the dirty side and I find that they come out looking as good as new after this. I only do this on a cold wash though for fear of melting the rubber and wrecking the washing machine lol! The only gripe that I have with Converse in the canvas styles is that you obviously can't wear them in the Winter or when its raining because they are not waterproof and your feet get freezing cold and soaking wet.

              ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

              As well as shoes, Converse have extended their range very widely. They now sell everything from clothing to bags to stationary items. They also sell skate trainer style shoes and traditional trainers which are also made to the same high quality that their canvas ones are. They now do leather uppers in the traditional high and low top styles now too which is really good as they can be worn in the Winter and rain without your feet getting soggy and cold! Converse are supporters of RED products which are manufactured to help those in need with HIV and AIDS and a percentage of what you pay for the RED branded products will go to the charity itself.

              SUMMERY.

              Converse area truly versatile, hard wearing shoe that I would recommend to anyone! 5 well deserved stars!

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              • An open letter to.... / Discussion / 30 Readings / 26 Ratings
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                31.12.2010 21:34
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                I love you Mum. X

                Mum,

                I know you probably don't realise it and this is largely because I don't show it enough but you are my rock and my complete world. I know some Mothers and Daughters that spend every weekend together shopping and doing other things together and I know other examples where all they do is fight and argue. We are neither of these, just the happy medium, which makes me appreciate the time I spend with you even more.

                The silly things like just wandering around town with you and going to a coffee shop or making fun of hideous clothes in shops or sharing a private joke put a smile on my face even just thinking about them. I've always known I could confide in you with anything and everything and lately I've come to be so grateful of that thought and knowledge that what I say to you stays between us. Even though me and my sisters are growing up, we are still your little girls and we're always grateful of a hug and kiss from a our Mum - nothing and no one will ever change that.

                You've done so much for us over the course of our lives even though both you and Dad work full time to give us all of the luxuries in life and we haven't always showed you just how much we appreciate that but I can assure you that we really do. I want you to be proud of me more than any words could ever begin to describe - what you think of me is paramount in how I live my life. I want to be a role model and set myself up in the right way, exactly how you've been throughout my life. I hope by working and studying hard, especially now with my degree and everything that I am doing this. Every little sacrifice that you've ever made for me means more than you'll ever know.

                The fact that there have been times in my life where I haven't shown my love and thanks for having you make me feel so sad on reflection. Everything I put you, Dad and my sisters through with my Anorexia makes me feel sick. All of the tears you cried and hugs you gave me to try and make me see sense to what I was doing to myself that I ignored and shrugged away make me feel a huge amount of shame. Looking back on the past few months and everything we've been through, I wish I'd clung onto you and told you how scared and confused I was but mainly how sorry I was that I was upsetting you so much. Your the reason I want to recover Mum, to make you proud of me and so you have three healthy girls to continue loving. I'm so sorry for the months I've stolen away from you in terms of worrying about me when we could have been continuing to live our lives like we did before but I promise I'm working on changing that and getting better now. I will give you those months back I promise.

                So this is it, the final paragraph in my letter to you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making every day of my life special by filling it with your warmth, love, humour and energy Mum. You are the most beautiful, inspiring woman who fills me with hope, courage and belief that there are good people left in this world. You are my best friend, my absolute everything Mum. Thank you for being everything and so much more that a mother should be.

                All my love always, Alex, your daughter. X

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                • Quorn Bangers / Meat / Fish / 32 Readings / 32 Ratings
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                  27.12.2010 16:06
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                  My favourite food/Quorn product!

                  To say that I am a massive fan of these sausages would be a bit of an understatement - I love them! They are very versatile, "meaty" and have even been known to fool my meat loving boyfriend into not being able to taste the difference between them and a pork sausage! Quorn products are made from Mycoprotein which is a member of the fungi family making them a brilliant low-fat alternative to pork sausages too - something that some dieters may not be aware of.

                  WHERE TO BUY, WHAT YOU GET AND COST.

                  Quorn bangers are available from Waitrose and Tesco in the frozen section although smaller branches of Tesco don't always have them which can be annoying. Whilst I'm at university, my nearest supermarket is Sainsburys and I have never seen them in there (It is a very large store but different places stock different products I guess...) so I have to make a special trip for them but they are so lovely I really don't mind! You can get other varieties and flavours of sausage in the Quorn range too but I'll talk more about them later. There are 6 bangers in a pack and they usually cost about £2 from Waitrose (Where I usually get mine from). In comparison to some sausages, vegetarian and pork, these are not the cheapest product on the market but in my opinion, are of the highest quality and I have never been disappointed with them in 12 years of not eating meat. They are however, frequently on offer in Waitrose and I tend to try to take advantage of this wherever possible and stock up!

                  PACKAGING.

                  Quorn bangers come in a green box with the distinctive orange Quorn logo on the front as well as a picture of the product itself. My only gripe with this is that I find that there is a lot of extra box where there are no sausages! I therefore think that Quorn should maybe consider scaling the box down a little bit to more of a compact size. It is fully recyclable however and I would rather have excess cardboard as opposed to excess plastic which isn't widely recyclable in all places. Overall, Quorn bangers are well packaged and tempt the consumer from the box.

                  WHAT IT LOOKS AND SMELLS LIKE.

                  Quorn bangers are slightly smaller and less plump than the more premium varieties of pork sausages but still look tempting and sizeable, especially in comparison to some supermarket branded pork varieties! They are around 4 inches in length which I find to be a more than suitable size. Once cooked, they are a dark, earthy, meaty brown colour which look delicious. There is some evidence of what I assume is the mycoprotein through the sausage skin but this does not put me off! Quorn bangers have an authentic, slightly meaty smell but it is not nearly as strong when put into comparison with any pork counterparts which I personally find a little overwhelming.

                  WHAT IS IN THEM AND NUTRITIONAL CONTENT.

                  There is obviously no meat in the Quorn banger and the primary ingredient is mycoprotein which as I mentioned previously is a member of the fungi family. However, I feel that it is important to note that these sausages do not have a mushroom like taste to them as I know many people who enjoy these sausages but can't stand mushrooms! They have also apparently been seasoned with cracked black pepper, thyme and parsley. The actual ingredients list is as follows:

                  Mycoprotein (35%), Water, Rehydrated Free Range Egg White, Onion, Rapeseed Oil, Flavourings (With Colours (Iron Oxides)), Milk Proteins, Textured Wheat Protein (Wheat Protein, Wheat Starch), Sage & Onion Stuffing (Breadcrumb, Rusk, Dehydrated Onion, Salt, Herbs, Onion Powder, Chives, Wheat Flour, Pepper and Sage Extracts), Tapioca Starch, Gelling Agent (Pectin), Spice Blend (Black Pepper, Thyme, Parsley), Roasted Barley Malt Extract.

                  As apparent through this list, Quorn bangers would not be suitable for those who are intolerant to gluten or eggs which is shame.

                  The nutritional content also makes for quite pleasing reading all-round too with a mere 58kcal and 2.4 grams of fat (0.3g saturated) per banger! You can definitely afford to have more than one of these delicious sausages even if you are dieting!

                  TASTE.

                  As you sink your knife through a Quorn banger, you cannot fail but to be impressed with its genuine meaty appearance; it looks hearty and very appetising and I know many meat eaters who have been fooled into thinking that these were pork sausages at first. Your taste buds will be greeted by an authentic, herby, hearty taste and a soft, spongy texture. Those who are meat eaters will have difficulty in distinguishing these and pork sausages apart I've been told! There is obviously no gristle and minimal fat and grease (This is also evident when cooking them as there is next to no noise or fat running off of them), making them the perfect choice for dieters or possibly parents introducing young children to new textures but are concious about avoiding excess fat and nasties in their diets. Quorn bangers are very versatile and can be cooked in a variety of different ways due to not having a very specific flavour or having additional products such as leeks or apples added. They taste just as good cold as they do hot and don't develop that horrible slimy coating when refrigerated that some pork sausages do.

                  ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND OTHER VARIETIES OF SAUSAGE AVAILABLE.

                  There are 6 other varieties of Quorn sausage available (To my knowledge) and these are;
                  - Quorn sausages.
                  - Frankfurters.
                  - Cumberland sausages.
                  - Red Leicester and onion sausages.
                  - Brambley apple bangers.
                  - Sizzling banger.

                  Quorn bangers can be cooked in around 10 minutes on the grill as I do with mine or can be fried.

                  SUMMERY.

                  A delicious, nutritious banger for all - veggie or non veggie, to enjoy!

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                    24.12.2010 15:18
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                    A delicious, nutritious cereal!

                    Breakfast is without a doubt the most important meal of the day and particularly for me as a diabetic (And many other people I'm sure), it is vital that I set myself up properly for the day ahead and I choose to do this with the help of Weetabix. This cereal is a bit of a British institution and has been loved by the nation since 1932 and rightly so! It is often imitated but even as a university student on a budget, I cannot bring myself to switch to one of the supermarkets own brands as they really are not a patch on the original.

                    WHERE TO BUY, WHAT YOU GET AND COST.

                    Weetabix is a staple British cereal so it can be found in nearly all good supermarkets or grocery stores. I buy mine from Sainsburys whilst I'm at university and Waitrose when I'm home (Well, my Mum does!) and the cost for a box of 24 biscuits is around £1.75 in both places which is in my opinion very good value for such a tasty, filling cereal. Weetabix are sold in packets of varying sizes of 12, 24, 48 and 72 (Who buys the pack of 72 I will never know!).

                    PACKAGING.

                    Weetabix come in a distinctive box with a picture of a wheat field with their name in big blue letters across the front. This may not be the fanciest packaging ever and I doubt many parents will have small children trying to persuade them to buy it but it does the job. The packaging also informs us that the cereal is low in fat and sugar, high in fibre and contains wholegrain. Inside the box, the biscuits are packaged in groups of 12 inside a cellophane wrapper which helps to keep them fresh.

                    WHAT THEY LOOK AND SMELL LIKE.

                    Okay, if first impressions were everything, I'll admit that I probably wouldn't have tried Weetabix as they are not the most attractive of cereals. Each biscuit is slightly larger than the palm of my fairly small hand and 18 grams in weight. They vaguely resemble MDF blocks in colour and appearance, if a little lighter in colour. They are quite crumbly and if you pick a single biscuit up and place it in your palm, you will almost certainly be left with some crumbs in your hand.

                    WHAT IS IN THEM AND THE NUTRITIONAL CONTENT.

                    Weetabix are made from wholegrain and not laden with sugar and artificial baddies like many cereals today. They are fortified with additional vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy diet including Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Folic acid, Niacin and iron. The ingredients for them are as follows:

                    Wholegrain Wheat (95%), Malted Barley Extract, Sugar, Salt, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Folic Acid.

                    Thats it. Who would have thought something so simple could be so tasty?

                    The nutritional information also makes for very pleasing viewing too with 127kcal and 0.8g of fat (0.2g saturated) per 2 biscuit serving. How healthy you make cereal is obvious partially determined by what fat content you put on it and if you use any additional toppings (One of the boys who lives in my halls at university is has his Weetabix with warm chocolate milk and sprinklings of chocolate chips every morning!).

                    It is important to note that Weetabix are suitable for everyone except from Coeliacs due to their wheat content.

                    TASTE.

                    Some may find Weetabix a little dull without any additional toppings but personally I prefer it this way. Upon breaking apart my first biscuit into my soya milk, I notice how it crumbles off into a perfect bitesize piece but leaves the remaining piece in tact in the bowl to continue to soak up the milk (I have to say, I adore soggy Weetabix!). As I pop the first spoonful into my mouth my taste buds are greeted by host of textures and flavours; the milk that the Weetabix piece has soaked up, the crunchiness of the biscuit itself and the most delightful wheaty taste. Weetabix definitely pack a lot into each 18 gram biscuit! The coolness of the milk and the crunchiness of the biscuit provide a very refreshing combination when put together.

                    OTHER VARIETIES AVAILABLE.

                    Whilst I prefer the plain Weetabix, there are many other varieties available including:
                    Weetabix Bitesize.
                    Weetabix Minis Fruit and Nut Crisp.
                    Weetabix Minis Chocolate Crisp.
                    Weetabix Minis Honey and Nut Crisp.
                    Weetabix Organic.

                    SUMMERY.

                    I have a feeling that this will always be my first choice of breakfast cereal! 5 stars from me!

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                      24.12.2010 12:37
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                      Overprice and over-rated.

                      I am not a lover of ice-cream and never have been however, one of my friends had a bbq in the Summer and was determined to change this! As a vegetarian, I am aware that a lot of cheaper brands use animal derived products and colourings which make their products unsuitable for me (And the rest of the vegetarian and vegan population of course) and Ben & Jerry's are one brand which take great pride in informing their consumers that ALL of their products are suitable for us veggies/vegans - which is great - if you like ice-cream of course! Anyway, she was determined to get me to try this as she knows I adore strawberries (Although I'm not fond of cheesecake!) and thought she'd convert me, needless to say, she didn't.

                      WHERE TO BUY, WHAT YOU GET AND COST.

                      I think the tub of Ben & Jerry's I tried was brought from Tesco for around £3.99 for 500ml which in my opinion is very expensive for rather a small amount of ice-cream! I have since seen smaller 150ml tubs of this particular flavour for around £1.80 in Waitrose and Blockbuster. Some supermarkets, I know for a fact Waitorse and Sainsburys do, occasionally have Ben & Jerry's ice-cream on offer for a more acceptable £2.00 for a 500ml tub.

                      PACKAGING.

                      I have to say that the packaging of this particular ice-cream was the highlight of the experience for me. The tub was tall and well constructive with a sturdy lid and had a blue sky with clouds and strawberries printed on it - very eye-catching and appealing. I can imagine the parents of young girls being press-ganged into buying pots of this purely just due to the packaging! The distinctive Ben & Jerry's brand name is on the top of the pot and the Strawberry Cheesecake flavour across the middle in the iconic B&J's font.

                      WHAT IT LOOKS AND SMELLS LIKE.

                      As you lifted the lid off of the pot of ice-cream, you were immediately struck by a distinctive strawberry scent which was very appealing. It was sweet and genuine, not artificial like some strawberry ice-cream scents. This initially gave me hope that the product would taste as authentic as it smelt - I was wrong, but more on that later. There were a few small biscuit type pieces which I assumed were the cheesecake pieces. These were plentiful and rightfully so for the amount of money it cost! The actual colour of the ice-cream was actually quite a pale and soft pink with occasional white swirls running through it which I'm assuming was due to the cheesecake pieces.

                      WHAT IS IN IT AND NUTRITIONAL CONTENT.

                      Lets be honest, ice-cream is not good for you and I have to say that the nutritional content of this is frightful. However, the list of ingredients don't initially appear too bad with the product being composed of 23% cream, 11% strawberries, soybean oil (Yay!), free-range eggs (Yay again!), cream cheese and lemon and elderberry juice concentrates included. I'm very impressed for the use of soybean oil and particularly the free-range eggs as it is so easy for manufacturers to overlook ethics and responsibly sourced ingredients when making products so gold star from me to you Ben & Jerry's!

                      Per 100g serving of Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake ice-cream, you are looking at a rather large sum of 240kcal and a whopping 12g of fat (7g of that being saturated). To put that into perspective, a woman should have no more than 20g of saturated fat in a day so here is over one third of that consumed in one sitting. It also contains a tooth-achingly sweet 24g of sugar (Per 100g still). I'm very glad I only had one spoonful!

                      TASTE.

                      I had high hopes of this ice-cream as all of my other friends were tucking into theirs with considerable gusto. It certainly looked very appealing in all of its glory in my bowl, very pink and pretty however, its taste definitely wasn't pretty. I was struck by an artificially sweet strawberry taste which was incredibly overwhelming even with the cream cheese with did nothing to counteract this unpleasant taste and seemed to only give it a weird cheap edge. It was far too creamy and claggy in my mouth and left an after taste of cream which I am not fond of. The cheesecake pieces were the highlight and were firm and crunchy but had no real cheesecake taste when I sampled them individually. The only thing I could liken this concoction to was poorly made strawberry Angel Delight (Far, far too much milk was used!) after my sisters and me had consumed one to many alcoholic beverages earlier in the Summer! I put my spoon down there and then and surrendered to this ice-cream disaster there and then!

                      SUMMERY.

                      Some will love this unpleasant strawberry ice-cream but for the price, I feel the taste did not reflect it in the slightest and expected much higher quality than I got. Maybe a little less cream and a little more authentic strawberry taste would be the key here! I only award two stars to this product, one for the pretty packaging and another for the use of free-range eggs. Needless to say, I am even less fond of ice-cream now thanks to this unpleasant strawberry disaster!

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                      • McVities Classic Rich Tea / Snacks / 13 Readings / 13 Ratings
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                        24.12.2010 11:44
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                        A brilliant biscuit!

                        As a vegetarian, I am often a little restricted on what sweet treats I am able to enjoy due to products containing colourings and other animal derived products but McVities Rich Tea biscuits are a timeless snack that I have always enjoyed. Some people put jam, Nutella, peanut butter and icing on these biscuits as I remember doing when I was a child but I prefer them plain now I am a bit older. :)

                        WHERE TO BUY THEM, WHAT YOU GET AND COST.

                        My packet of biscuits came from Sainsburys and cost around 80p for 300 grams which in my opinion for such a versatile, delicious biscuit is very reasonable! I received around 20 biscuits for for this price. You can buy them cheaper however and they are widely available from all good supermarkets. I have also seen packets in smaller, 200g sizes too.

                        PACKAGING.

                        McVities Rich Tea biscuits are quite simply packed being wrapped in smart blue cellophane with a convenient tab for opening. "Rich Tea" is written on the front of the pack in distinctive white writing which gives a good, effective contrast against the blue packaging. Packaging the biscuits like this seems to be quite effective as I had very few broken ones when I emptied the packet into our biscuit barrel.

                        WHAT THEY LOOK AND SMELL LIKE.

                        McVities Rich Tea biscuits are by no means a flashy, attractive biscuit but who cares as long as they taste good to be honest?! They are a little larger than the size of my palm (Although I do have quite small hands!) and are a sandy brown colour although you do occasionally get the odd one which is slightly more/less brown due to the laws of baking obviously! They have a smooth texture on the top of the biscuit and have their name etched on the front and underneath have small lines on them. The biscuits do not have much of an aroma but there is a vague smell of sweetness to them. This is more apparent however if they are dunked in a nice cup of tea!

                        WHAT IS IN THEM AND NUTRITIONAL CONTENT.

                        McVities Rich Tea biscuits are a bakery product and are not really the healthiest product on the market but in terms of biscuits and healthiness, you can purchase far worse biscuits! The ingredients list for them is fairly short and sweet and is as follows:

                        Wheat Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Glucose-fructose Syrup, Malt Extract, Cultured Skimmed Milk, Raising Agents (Sodium Bicarbonate, Ammonium Bicarbonate), Salt.

                        The nutrition for these biscuits again could look far worse with a mere 38kcal and 1.3g of fat (0.1g saturated) per biscuit! I believe this would equate to 453kcal, 15.5g fat (1.5g saturated) per 100g. This in my opinion, does not make for bad reading and I'm sure one or two could be worked into a healthy diet.

                        TASTE.

                        I believe that McVities Rich Tea biscuits are far superior to any other rich tea biscuit available due to their stability when dunked in a cup of tea and their smooth substantial taste. There is a satisfying "SNAP!" as you bite into or break the biscuit and it remains relatively in tact with little crumbling, something which always indicates the sign of a good biscuit in my opinion! They don't disintegrate when dunked in tea, coffee or hot chocolate either (As some of their cheaper counterparts do). The taste alone is lovely, smooth, subtly sweet and not too over-powering. McVities Rich Tea biscuits do not have bits of unprocessed/milled grain in which I find most off-putting in some biscuits and I think I find their smooth texture most appealing. Some people may describe them as being too dry or plain however.

                        VARIATIONS.

                        McVities now do a lighter version of the Rich Tea for dieters which still tastes very similar to the original although is a little more crumbly.

                        SUMMERY.

                        McVities Rich Tea biscuits are a wonderful, versatile biscuit that will continue to remain my favourite for years to come! They are often imitated but never beaten!

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                      • Marmite / Spread / 16 Readings / 16 Ratings
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                        24.11.2010 20:04
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                        I wonder if anyone loves it quite a much as me!

                        Marmite in my opinion, is a staple British food. It has existed since 1902 after its birth in Burton On Trent and is rightfully known as a signature British food.

                        I first tried Marmite at a very young age thanks to living in a house comprised of Marmite lovers, all similar to myself. I believe my first experience of the substance in question was on toast and to this day, it is still my favourite way to eat it. Around 16 years have passed since this event and the whole Marmite brand has evolved considerably with items such as crisps and rice cakes now available to enjoy and it is said to go brilliantly in a sandwich with cheese (I have not sampled this due to the fact I can't stand cheese!). Anyway, onto the review;

                        THE PRODUCT ITSELF.

                        I'm sure that everyone reading this review will be aware of what Marmite looks like but for anyone that isn't sure, it is a thick, very dark brown almost black in colour substance which still enables you to easily sink your knife, spoon or cutlery item into the jar easily enough to remove it and spread it thickly on your desired surface. It has a distinctive yeasty smell which some people may find a little off-putting initially but I personally really like it.

                        PACKAGING.

                        Traditionally, Marmite is packaged in a glass jar (And has been since the 1920's apparently!) and comes in three sizes (As far as I'm aware anyway...) but there is now a squeezy bottle version available which would make life easier if you are a real Marmite addict so you can simply squeeze away to you hearts content until satisfied with the amount on your food. Again, it would also be useful for children as they would probably get more over the table or plate than onto the food if not careful. I personally enjoy my Marmite from the glass jar. The label is the timeless, distinctive yellow label with the red banner that of course, has "Marmite" emblazoned across it in a white font.

                        TASTE.

                        Now, this is where the good stuff starts! I shall be reviewing my Marmite when tasted in conjunction with toast but I am also fond of it in sandwiches and on rice cakes but also enjoy it occasionally with rice and pasta although I can see how this would not be to everyones tastes (As a vegetarian I tend to eat it with a lot of things)! Anyway, I lovingly spread a fairly thin layer of Marmite over my slice of toast (I should point out that some may find the taste a little strong if too much is used as I do - others love it), cut the slice in half and tuck in. My taste buds gratefully receive a delicious, warming greeting from a lovely, thick, yeasty host of flavours which only intensify with the rest of my toast. It could possibly be described as being very slightly bitter although this is hard to detect unless your palate is very sensitive to bitter things. I throughly enjoyed my Marmite on toast and do so nearly every morning.

                        WHATS IN IT AND NUTRITION.

                        Marmite not only tastes sensational but is also very good for you too (Obviously in sensible quantities). The exact ingredients are are follows;
                        Yeast Extract
                        Salt
                        Vegetable Extract
                        Niacin
                        Thiamin
                        Spice Extracts
                        Riboflavin
                        Folic Acid
                        Celery Extract
                        Vitamin B12
                        So as we can see, there are some essential vitamins packaged into it ensuring that it delivers a product that is as healthy as it is tasty. In terms of calories and fat, it is also excellent containing just 9kcal per 4 gram adult serving and a nil fat content! You can't really ask much better than that! In 100 grams there are 252kcal and 0.1 grams of fat so dieting Marmite addicts wont have to compromise on their beloved spread.

                        COST AND AVAILABILITY.

                        Marmite can be purchased from all good supermarkets and stores for between £1.50 for the smallest jar and £4.99 for the largest jar (I believe the squeezy bottles are more expensive though). My 250g jar cost around £2.80 from Tesco Express (Now I'm a university student, I'm finally beginning to appreciate all of these costs!) which I don't think if bad for a yummy jar of goodness!

                        OVERALL.

                        Marmite is without a doubt my sandwich/toast spread (And sauce for all intensive purposes!) of choice and shall continue to be so for many more years.

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