In a moment of madness, I thought I would review a frozen Beef Pie from Swanson’s.
Tesco Steak Pie
In the UK I used to pick up a Tesco Steak Pie in Puff Pastry. It wasn’t frozen and was from the fridge department. It was very cheap, about 89p back then. There weren’t any vegetables in it but packed with meat and gravy. I loved it, 10/10 for their product. This is the pie I set my standards to.
Swanson Beef Pie Review
So, where do I start with this? Sigh.
After cooking the pie, it was stuck to the container it was cooked in. It took some effort to get it out and of course, it broke into a million pieces. Part of the base was stuck on there for good, like cement.
The pastry was something like a shortcrust but kind of dry and tasteless.
The pie contents were extremely small, one piece of meat was half the size of my thumbnail; 4 pieces of meat, 2 carrots and what looked like 1 pea. It certainly was not packed as per the picture on the box. There was some gravy but not a lot. Basically, all I had to eat was pastry in gravy. That is not a pie.
This is the worst pie I’ve ever had in my entire life. They could do much better than that. I would review this as 0/10, I feel bad there is nothing good I can say about this product. It’s currently on sale here at CAD$1.50, which is $1.49 more than anyone should pay for it.
Who is Swanson?
They are an American company owned by Campbells since 1955. I actually never buy anything Campbell makes, if I had known beforehand I wouldn’t have picked the pie up.
Should I Review More?
I was going to review a number of pies that I see in Canadian supermarkets to see if I can find a Tesco equivalent, however, the Swanson one has put me off doing that. I think we are safer making our own at home.
Steven2023-01-22T05:49:32+00:0022 January 2023|Food|
Since I saw some positive reviews of this product I decided to give Aero Truffle Nanaimo Bar’s a try. I wish I hadn’t.
The product was on sale at the local supermarket so I picked up a bag rather than a bar, so more like a bag of miniatures. I can’t remember how much they cost but it wasn’t too much.
What is a Nanaimo Bar
The City of Nanaimo website best describes what the bar actually is, and there is a recipe available too. They did originate in the city and it’s a typical Canadian snack that you don’t really get to see much elsewhere. I have tried to make it but don’t have much success with it, not sure why, so I let the experts whip them up for me.
Review of Aero Nanaimo
It tastes nothing like a Nanaimo bar at all, far from it.
It is typical Aero, chocolate on the outside and light bubble type whatever on the inside.
I ate two and chucked the rest away, apart from taking a photo of them for this blog. They tasted of chemicals and after two bites I felt a bit queasy. They actually reminded me of flavoured KitKat bars which I can’t eat either. I checked the sell-by date on the back to ensure they hadn’t gone off and didn’t expire for 2+ months.
I guess Aero wants to expand its horizons, and keep making a profit and maybe this gives them more publicity even if people don’t like it. However, I don’t normally eat Aero anymore and this doesn’t encourage me to try any of the other bars in their “flavoured” collection. I do fancy a real Nanaimo bar now though although not sure where I can get them locally.
Steven2023-01-07T22:08:16+00:007 January 2023|Food|
This is a review of Twix Caramel Centre biscuits I picked up at the local British store here in Vancouver.
My go-to chocolate bar from the supermarket or newsagent would always be a Twix. It started when I was 5 years old when my parents would take me swimming, I refused to get in the water unless they promised me a Twix afterwards. I don’t really eat them much anymore, just once or twice a year, but did pick the biscuits up as I thought they would be interesting to try. This is the first time I’ve seen or heard of them.
Actually, it’s quite difficult to find out any information about these biscuits. Mars, who owns the Twix brand, doesn’t have any information about them, or many other products, on their corporate website. Burtons Biscuits, whose name is on the packaging too, doesn’t have any information on them either, but there is a similar Mars Bar related product on their website.
I checked on Tesco and Sainsbury supermarket online stores and they don’t have the Twix product listed either. It’s quite mysterious because when I search online most British stores in Canada and the USA are selling them. Maybe they were limited edition, did their rounds in the UK, weren’t popular and decided to sell them at discount globally. Just a guess.
I can’t remember how much these cost me here, about $4.00 I think.
So, here is a quick rundown of what I thought of them:
You get 8 biscuits in a packet which isn’t a lot for the money, but I don’t know how much they were in the UK so it could be reasonable at that cost.
They didn’t smell very pleasant.
They didn’t taste like Twix chocolate bars at all.
The biscuit on the outside was nice and crunchy.
There is a gooey caramel centre, I couldn’t taste it as the outside biscuit was too overpowering.
It wasn’t overly sweet which was great for me.
The biscuits had less of a caramel centre than advertised on the packet.
It left an aftertaste in my mouth which was unpleasant. A couple of hours later I am still shuddering from the aftertaste.
I could only eat one biscuit and I threw the rest away.
So, I wasn’t impressed. At least they weren’t that expensive.
I really didn’t like them so my rating is 1 out of 5. I wouldn’t buy them again. Sorry Twix makers, keep trying different things though.
Neptune is a more high-class Chinese restaurant with inside decor to match. There are two parts to the restaurant, we’ve only been in the main section, the other one is a Wonton Noodle place.
The items on the menu are generally dishes you would not find in a day-to-day Chinese restaurant most people would go into. The prices are high but they do serve generous portions, enough for us for 3 more dinners. So, kind of value for money.
We had 3 dishes in all and my favourite was the Ho Fun, it’s always my go-to dish but I was interested in seeing what this one was like. It was exceptional. All dishes were good. Instead of an orange, they served us with a Mango Jelly dessert, it was refreshing.
At first, the customer service was a bit gruff. There was no one to greet us when we first arrived. There was only really one member of staff that was friendly to us. Also, the menu was on a tablet and it timed out, couldn’t access it as it was passworded, then the staff member wasn’t happy she had to re-enter the password for us.
I will give the restaurant 4 out of 5, marked down due to customer service rather than the food.
The Beer flavoured crisps we picked up are from China. Just looking through various websites online they are available from specialist stores and other Asian supermarkets. This is the first time I have seen Beer flavoured Lay’s, they did have a new selection of Lay’s Taro flavours, not a fan of Taro which is something I decided to avoid.
The packet was the greatest thing about these crisps.
I opened the packet, put a whole crisp in my mouth and totally regretted it. Oh dear, it tasted awful. I just can’t compare it to anything else. It certainly didn’t taste like beer, just like some gone-off chemical.
I have noticed about Lay’s “flavoured” crisps that they all taste of chemicals. This is not just from Lay’s but also the KitKat range of products, apart from the original the ones I’ve tried aren’t that good.
I hastily threw away the rest of the crisps immediately. I had to eat something else, quickly, to take the taste away.
Can I give something minus marks? I don’t know, but it’s definitely 0 out of 5.
I don’t like giving things bad reviews but in this case, I had no choice. It was nasty.
Heinz Sandwich Spread has been around for as long as I can remember, way back into the 1960s, I thought I would try it again.
The ingredients are like a mix of salad cream and pickle relish. It’s difficult to describe the taste but it is very tangy. I won’t look too much in detail at the ingredients because I’m sure they would be bad for me.
It is most popular in the UK and The Netherlands, also in some other countries where ex-pats live. Here in Canada, it’s not available in general supermarkets but a general staple of many British stores.
I’m not sure about its history but I remember it from the early 1960s. In the UK it is quite cheap, more so than processed meat, so those on a low income might find this convenient for their budget. When I got my first home I had it for a while until I knew what my budget was going to be living in that property.
Other products that people would buy that are similar to this are Shipmans spread (or paste) range that they have. None of these products gets very good reviews as I think they are a product from yesteryear with a certain palette that goes along with them.
There is some more information on the product on the Heinz website. I have never seen the lower-calorie version they mention.
Many people just put it in a sandwich as it is, but with some salad in between the slices of bread is better in my opinion. It is also good on some crackers like Ryvita. It doesn’t work on Ritz type crack for me. Keep in mind that it is a powerful and tangy flavour it can overpower other products. When putting Sandwich Spread on bread I don’t think you need butter on it, the flavour is hidden anyway.
The price in Canada is over CAD $5.00 which doesn’t make it a cheap option to have on a regular basis. In the UK though a jar is about £1.50 which is very reasonable since one of them could last a week. Sandwich Spread might be intolerable if not serving it with a variety of items, like salad inside, so whether it’s cost-effective in the long term could be questionable.
As I said above, the flavour is strong and tangy. If used sparingly in a sandwich, or other healthier type of bread or cracker, the taste can be great, and a little crunchy too. In this case, the spread would last a long time.
I worry about some of the ingredients which makes me think I shouldn’t overuse them. Back in the 1960s we rarely thought of these factors but people have become more self-aware of what is in the products they buy and where they have come from.
I’m not sure if you can make the spread yourself, or at least a healthier version, by mixing salad cream with vegetables and relish. The video below, from Texas A&M University, seems quite a healthy alternative to Sandwich Spread.
Steven2021-11-05T22:56:49+00:005 November 2021|Food|
Never heard that Tim Horton’s was producing a chocolate coffee bar before until I found some in the supermarket checkout aisle, so here is a review.
Who is Tim Hortons?
Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 by Canadian Hockey player of the same name, Tim Hortons, and Jim Charade. It has become Canada’s largest fast-food chain best known for its coffee and “Tim Bits” but also sells other bakery items plus sandwich type fare.
They were bought out by Burger King in 2014. Its majority own is Brazilian investment company 3G Capital. They now have outlets around the world including in China. The first Tim Horton’s I noticed in London UK was in Haymarket near Piccadilly Circus.
We don’t go in them too often, mainly when we are “on the road” travelling on vacation when we are desperate to use the toilet!
Chocolate Coffee Bar
Evidently Tim Hortons Coffee Bar has been in production since 2019, I discovered food blogs review the “Double Double” branded one since 2020. See Foodology. According to the site they are being produced in Miami, however, I did find one here in a supermarket in British Columbia. They might be available in their coffee shops; I haven’t been to any in 2+ years to find out.
Oh dear, it was bad.
I was hoping for better, but I didn’t enjoy it at all. It came with three large pieces, not very delicate looking at all with a coffee bean pattern on top. I think they could have been smaller break off chunks.
The alleged “coffee” flavour was completely overpowering I didn’t even notice the chocolate. The flavour tasted very bitter and a bit like chemicals. Then it left a sickening after taste in my mouth, I had to rush for something to mask it quickly. I’m not sure how they could have screwed this up so much.
The best coffee/chocolate combination I’ve had in Canada are the Milk Chocolate Coffee Creams in Purdy’s, fantastic combination of flavours, not overpowering, very mellow and creamy. They remind me of a Belgian coffee truffle from yesteryear. However, the Tim Hortons coffee bar was more like a cheap Hershey style chuck chemicals in it to make it last for years type product.
If anybody wants to try the Tim Horton’s product, they are available at Real Canadian Superstore for CAD1.88, maybe other locations too.
Steven2021-09-11T21:47:31+00:0011 September 2021|Food|
Maltesers is one of the most popular brands of chocolate in the UK, owned by Mars Inc, since 1937. I picked up a Maltesers Buttons product when visiting a local British store recently, here is a quick review.
It appears they product two of the “buttons” product, the original and the mint flavoured. I only saw the mint flavoured available so I bought that one.
It was a 32g bag but for the mint flavour, they produce 102g packet as well, not sure if they do any other sizes.
As you can see from the photo it has the original Maltesers branding but with add-ons. The product description is “Mint flavoured milk chocolate with honeycombed pieces”.
The bag is pretty stuffed with decent size buttons so I’m happy they didn’t put it in an extra-large bag to make it looks as though you are getting more than anticipated.
Mint is the most prominent flavour, it’s quite powerful. It wasn’t until a bit later that I actually noticed the chocolate but I’m pleased it’s there. The mint could be toned down a bit so you can taste the chocolate more. It will take me a little while to get through them as they do taste fairly sweet, 3 or 4 at a time.
Netizens who have reviewed them rate them highly, they say “great tasting” and “good value form money”.
Here in Canada, they cost me CAD$2.00 which is about GBP£1.16. A little bit more expensive than it would cost in the UK but not too bad.
I would give them 4/5 and wouldn’t eat them on a regular basis.
Maltesers Buttons Commercial
Steven2020-12-22T22:10:47+00:0022 December 2020|Food|
Since I enjoy Shreddies I thought I would pick up their new product called Shreddies Granola, here in Canada, to see what it was like.
In Canada, the Shreddies family has 4 different products; original, honey, banana bread and now granola. The honey and banana bread products don’t appeal to me at all so I was intrigued by the Granola one to see if I liked it. I didn’t.
The Shreddies in the box looked like the original we all know and love. Within the box were clusters, of varying sizes, of Granola chunks. The flavour of the granola tasted a little bit over the top, a little bit too false, and that had transferred onto the Shreddies themselves. I prefer my Shreddies with warm milk so maybe that spoiled the product, but I don’t think I was to eat any more. It was a good try though as the combination does sound interesting.
As long as they don’t mess with the original it’s no big deal as I will still continue to go along and enjoy that.
It looks as though the UK has a similar product to Shreddies Granola, they call it Shreddies Max as in much more protein, that is how they are marketing it. There are two “Max” products, one with and one without Canberries. They have released a video advert for it, below. Shreddies in the UK also has Frosted Shreddies which is my favourite, I’m sad they don’t have this in Canada.
UPDATE 18 May 2020
Since opening the box we had problems getting rid of the smell of this product, must be the sugar content. Very powerful.
The day finally came to steam my Christmas Pudding, and the truth would be revealed whether I am facing a culinary disaster never experienced before.
I didn’t follow the method of the pudding recipe exactly as there are various ingredients I just don’t like, and the same for the steaming process too. I know, I am taking a risk as I’m not in any way shape or form a chef.
So, I put butter and flour in some plastic basins I had hanging around. Placed the pudding, that had been sitting in the fridge for a week, into the basins, about 3/4 full. I then put a circle of parchment paper on top, then covered with foil and secured with an elastic band. We have a large steamer we got from the Chinese store so I used that, it fit 3 small basins. I still have more pudding mix remaining so I will have to find more basins from somewhere and repeat this exercise another day.
The recipe says steam for 4 hours, but I slightly reduced that as I spread the pudding mix over 3 small basins.
I was completely gobsmacked when I tried the pudding, it actually tasted very good. I was stunned. I guess my previous experience with Christmas Pudding, being as hard as a brick, frightened me off making any more. Well, now I have tons of Christmas Pudding that will last me months, and I can make it anytime I want. I am very happy.