Food and drink review blog with an ethnic twist. Focus on new, unusual and seasonal products
bought in the UK.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

New & Interesting Supermarket Finds

There have been a number of products that have caught my eye in recent weeks.  Especially since the stores have already been rearranged and festive goodies have started to appear.  It is early and not even thinking about Christmas yet, but it is nice to have a-few more choices!  The slight chill in the air and the darkness at 8pm signifies the changing of the seasons.  It is sad to say goodbye to summer, especially one so glorious.  However, autumn has its own benefits.  Food certainly comes into that in a big way.  More home baking, encouraged by The Great British Bake Off.  More soups, root veg and filling, warming foods- yum!

Despite my dad working as a craft brewer, I am not a big beer fan.  Fruit beers are a definite exception though.  The above is made by a brewery in Alloa, Scotland and it is made from the unique Tayberry.  A Tayberry is named after romanticised silvery river.  It is a cross between a raspberry and blackberry, they are a long purpley sweet berry that is packed full of flavour.  I bought a couple of these for dad, as he is always keen to try new and different beers and ciders.  Purchased from Aldi supermarket, I am unsure whether they will be sold in Aldi stores outside of Scotland.  Like the rural specialities that have become more and more available in the store.  It is great to see, particularly that some of the fruit and veg are local too.  These Scottish specialities show that the store supports local growers and meat producers and has certainly encouraged my shopping there.  One of the most interesting additions has been a Scottish influenced, Tablet flavoured ice cream (certainly one for the sweet toothed I'd imagine!). 

Thought these really cute.  Found them in my local Asda and are a foreign branded variety.  The koala's are vanilla and blueberry flavour.  Due to being a vegetarian, I didn't try them.  They were bought as a sweetie to take home when visiting the family, sister in mind especially!  Was told that they were quite fruity and that the vanilla didn't come through as strongly.  Sister also said they were light, not terribly strongin flavour but very addictive.  Unlike the usual Haribo's, these are soft foam gums.

A drink that I had never come across before, cactus is a whole new one on me!  Familiar with the brand Tymbark, believe it is Polish in origin and they make very nice and unique fruit juices.  Within their range is a mint and apple one, which I don't fancy too much (mint just reminds me of toothpaste)!  The cactus drinks come in a range of different flavours, pictured is the lime and apple which I purchased.  The juice is from concentrate and not fresh.  I really enjoyed it but didn't really detect the cactus, lime was the predominant flavour.  Found it to be a really enjoyable, refreshing and tangy drink- delicious ice cold.  Very fruity and not too thick either, as a-lot of fruit juices can be.  I kind of expected a viscous, pulpy like texture that you get from Aloe drinks.  Cactus has a-lot of benefits and is rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids.  Being in a juice such as this, you probably won't get those as you would with pure cactus juice.  Wonder if it will ever become a bit of a fad here, the pure juice.  Apparently it is drunk extensively in Mexico and America.  The Tymbark juice could make a nice base for a tequila cocktail.  Perhaps served in salt rimmed glasses and a slice of lime for a nod to the popular shot.

Another purchase from Asda, these come in small single serve bags which are ideal for a wee snack.  They are light chews, cross between a skittle and a tooty fruity but with a much finer shell.  Loved the flavour of these: apple, strawberry, raspberry lemon, orange and blackberry.  Fruity but quite subtle, personally I prefer the flavour not to be too strong so they were right up my street.  With the use of natural colours, less sugar and the addition of real fruit juice, they are definitely a sweet treat kids and adults enjoy guilt free.

Pedon is an Italian company that sells produce throughout Europe.  They specialise in grains and wholefoods.  There aren't too many of their products sold in the UK, which is a pity.  I spotted these in the wholefoods aisle in Morrisons.  There was also a minestrone mix which contained tiny tubes of pasta, lentils and barley.  Priced at £1.75 for a fairly small bag they are not as good value as the bigger bags that you can buy.  But feel they are more than worth the extra 50p or so.  There is no need to soak and as it says on the pack they take just 10 minutes to cook.  Brilliant time saver for making a soup, stew or whatever you fancy.  Express pulse cooking!  So happy to have found these, they are a really versatile ingredient that helps to bulk up dishes.  Influenced by M&S salads found these to be ideal in helping to replicate their super-wholefood salad.  Within the mix bought, there are green lentils, split peas and barley.  Would be great to see their range expanded in this country as they have some really interesting products including various unusual grain mixes, rice mixes, seeds, wholewheat cous-cous and even cake mixes!

As has been shared in other posts,  I am a big fan of Middle Eastern flavours.  Yottam Ottelenghi's cookery show and style of food introduced me to a much broader range of dishes and ingredients.  Fortunate, that so many of these more exotic ingredients are available in the supermarket.  Al'Fez is one of the leading brands specialising in Moroccan and Lebanese foods sold in the UK.  They have a great range, which includes spice and recipe mixes, sauces, grains and so much more.  At present, Tesco have some very good offers in store.  These offers are available until the 24th of September.  Products included are: Falafel Mix, Apricot & Coriander Tagine Sauce and a Tahini Dressing.  Tried all three and recommend them.  The falafel mix is authentic tasting and very simple to prepare, for added texture I'd suggest adding in a small amount of whole/roughly chopped chickpeas.  On another occassion added in grated carrot and cumin which worked well.  The mix is full of flavour and is not only good for falafels but is a great base for veggie/bean burgers.  Tagine sauce is very aromatic, tomatoey and fruity, not too spicy and delicious- great with all sorts of meat (esp lamb and chicken)/veg.  The Tahini dressing is rich and nutty in flavour and it is well balanced with lemon.  The only downside is that it doesn't keep for more than a week once opened.  It is great with salad, falafels, as a dip and also to make your own houmous.  A healthier one too, as it is liquid you don't need to add much if any oil.  Now to dis Tesco a bit, the offers on the mentioned are great but they are the only Al'Fez products available in store.  Morrisons sells a bigger selection of their products.

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