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Confirmed sighting: Kerry Foods' Hungry Joe's Chicken and Bacon BBQ Melt with Wedges
Posted: 21:14 Sun 26-Feb-2012. Price: £2.00/ 550g meal for 1. Location: ASDA (currently exclusive). Sub-flavours: Triple Cheese and Pepperoni Lasagne; Mighty Meatball Pasta Feast; Chicken Tikka Balti with Rice and Naan; Chicken Curry with Rice and Naan; Jalapeno Chilli Con Carne with Wedges. Nutritional unusualness: BBQ Sauce (45%) , Potato Wedges (40%) , Cooked Chicken Breast (9%).
"Marc Carran" reports: After spotting 'Chicken', 'Bacon', 'BBQ Sauce' in the same description, I could not resist having a look at what this might be. From the box: "Joe hates to be hungry. His sweet and smokey BBQ melt recipe is packed full of flavour and is sure to feed your hunger. Chicken breast and crispy bacon pieces smothered in BBQ sauce and melted cheddar cheese served with potato wedges. Oven cook from frozen in 50 mins. When cooked in the oven my wedges really crisp up nicely!"
50 Minutes?!! Good thing there were some microwave instructions included too. 50 minutes is far too long to wait for Chicken and Bacon! Convenience meals... You know the score. Some are cheap (and nasty) and do the job, some are simple and exquisite and some are inbetween. After inspecting the ingredients, at around 15g of fat, I suspect this to to be somewhere inbetween.
Hungry Joe's, by the way, is a brand created by Kerry Foods. Joe (the guy I guess who is on the packaging) just looks like a normal bloke, your "Average Joe" I guess (arf).
Taste test now... It's good, but not great, everything's ok, but nothing special. However, one thing disappoints me, Onions! I hate them, I don't think they needed to be included with the BBQ Sauce. BBQ Sauce sauce needs to be thick and sweet with a mild tang.
...Always nice to hear from our old friend "Marc Carran" - while, in other meaty meals: beef chilli, hot beef chilli, or bean and vegetable chilli are the three variants of Baxters' new ambient Chilli Bowls;
Burger King have adapted last year's Melt 'n Middles into a Subway-style £1.99 King Of The Day; and, for struggling vegetarians like myself, I couldn't taste any pear in New Covent Garden's Passionate Pepper and Pear soup, photographed here with Iceland's equally alarming Beef Yorkshire Pudding Wrap with Gravy.
Confirmed sighting: Walkers Mystery Flavours A-C
Posted: 09:26 Sun 05-Feb-2012. Price: 45p/pack, or £2 for 2 multipacks of 6. Location: Local shop, Church St, Wolverton, MK; Tesco, Tovil (Maidstone); Tesco, Hayes. Sub-flavours: Mystery Dairy, Meaty and Spicy flavours.
Sorry I had a bit of a picture hiccup with these over the last week, plus everyone seems a bit cagey about their ideas for the flavour-identifying competition, eg "Marc One": "The latest offering/gimmick (delete as you see fit) from Walkers. Have all 3 but not tried yet. I already know what they taste like without trying them... They all taste the same don't they?"
"Found a six pack with two of each flavour," admitted "Allan", while "Pilch" didn't provide much more detail, confiding: "Knowing my penchant for unusual/new crisp flavours, my wife came home with these today. I would say what they taste like, but a) I haven't tried them yet, and b) there's money up for grabs! £50,000 per correct flavour guess, apparently..."
...Anyway, in other curious combos: The Grocer has energising news of a meat pie infused with Red Bull; Foodstuff Finds has dared sample possibly Birmingham-based delicacy Lucky Me! Artificial Bone Marrow Flavour Instant Noodles; and our old friend gobble monkey has found Kraft Philadelphia blended with Cadbury Milk Chocolate for £1.62 in Waitrose, presumably the ideal condiment to go in a sandwich made of Smarties.
Confirmed sighting: McDonald's Shake 'n' Taste Chicken
Posted: 18:37 Sun 23-Oct-2011. Price: £1.89. Sub-flavours: Just the Smoky BBQ Chicken so far. Nutritional unusualness: Basically, they are Chicken Selects with a 'shake to taste' Smokey BBQ Powder.
"Marc" reports: If you like chicken (by the way, Mr Snackspot, do you like chicken?), then McDonald's are selling 2 pieces of their Chicken Selects (maybe our local restaurant is quite efficient, but each piece is very big!) in a bag, with some powder to... "shake to taste". I love chicken and I love the BBQ Sauce that comes free with the Chicken Selects but it's salty (not so bad if you involve fries too!) The powder makes them messier to eat, but less salty, a different kick, a better taste I would say.
Anyway for under £2 a pop and a little mess, (wash down with a milkshake to avoid the slight saltiness), these are much improved over the saltiness of the BBQ Sauce. Tuck in to 'em soon as yer can mate, and let me know what yer thought! Condiments is another subject, an important one - even in the fast food world. Perhaps you should bring it up (although a experiment with Chippy chips and KFC gravy went terrible with me once!)
...Plenty to think about there from "Marc" - I did think these were a decent innovation, at least compared to Micky D's dismal Grilled Chicken Salad Wrap and the All in One Breakfast Wrap that's rebranded history's Hash Brown as a "Potato Rosti". My personal philosophy of "bad" vegetarianism makes me assume that it's grass-fed free-range chickens that go into these bizarre 24 Deli Chicken wrapped around Stuffing rolls seen in Sainsbury's, while I have the excellent Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! podcast to thank for alerting me to both the USA's Land, Sea, and Air Burger and Popeye's Dip'n Chick'n, "chicken extruded into a spoon-like shape for easier capture of dip".
Confirmed sighting: Itsu Sandwich - Salad
Posted: 18:24 Sat 16-Jul-2011. Price: around £4.99 and up. Location: Itsu, Lower Regents St, London. Sub-flavours: Roast duck and pomegranate; Wasabi chicken and advocado, etc. Nutritional unusualness: "Made (on the hour) with freshly cooked health and happiness ingredients" [see below].
reports: The revolutionary concept here is that there's a plate-like layer of bread, with different strata of salad and sandwich fillings on top - so, as the packaging explains, you can "Roll it, eat it like a sandwich" or "Open it, eat it as a salad with a fork". And sure, it's on the expensive side, but it's substantial enough that you can even swap strategies half-way through if (for instance), all the coriander keeps falling out of the wrap/roll approach. Downsides - the box is covered with
patronising lower-case "eat beautiful" ramblings from Pret A Manger founder Julian Metcalfe, plus of course the "open or closed" dichotomy is exactly how people have been eating kebabs, or chips in pitta, for many generations.
...Anyway, in other half-baked brainwaves: "a full-on flavour that was impressively intense" is Foodstuff Finds' assessment of Warburtons New Pitta Chips (which should be available in in Chilli Jack, Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar, Sour Cream and Chive, or Oriental BBQ); Kingsmill's Secretly Seeded loaf doesn't taste too grainy, but presumably only retains its secret for as long as the end consumer can't see or read the packet; and McCain are tackling Tillman's ever-expanding range with, er, a Cheese and Ham Toasted Sandwich for around £1.49.
Confirmed sighting: Heinz Tomato Ketchup blended with Balsamic Vinegar
Posted: 18:42 Sun 08-May-2011. Price: around £1.49/342g bottle. Location: Sainsbury's, Halifax. Nutritional unusualness: "Blended with balsamic vinegar... for a limited time only!".
Sorry, it took a while to track down a pic for this, as the supermarkets seem more interested in Levi Roots' ever-expanding range of Reggae Reggae Tomato Ketchup, Reggae Reggae Cooking Sauce, Reggae Reggae Caribbean Curry Cooking Sauce, Reggae Reggae Jerk Barbeque Sauce, Reggae Reggae Jerk Relish and just plain old Reggae Reggae Sauce. It's "A rich tasting ketchup that's perfect with sausages and steak," according to Heinz, but "L" was a little harder to impress, reporting: Looked more like a BBQ sauce, nothing particularly exciting. The regular kind has vinegar in it anyway...
...Still, in other saucy sorcery: the pasty-filling-sealed-into-a-roll concept helps Ginsters' Cornish Baras stand out against Rustlers' similarly microwaveable Hot Wraps range; I was kind of surprised to see KFC producing a char-grilled chicken Brazer Burger (and wrap), though the result's not quite as dramatic as Burger King's Steakhouse Angus combination of "flame-grilled Aberdeen Angus beef, Applewood smoked bacon, American cheese, crispy onions, lettuce, tomato smothered with a barbecue sauce in a corn dusted bun"; and I thought £2.85 was a bit steep for Kabuto's add-boiling-water "posh noodles" in Belsize Park Budgens, though there's some proper spices in the stock, it's a large (600g) portion when rehydrated, plus there's some semi-humorous packaging copy along the lines of "Failure to follow instructions will bring great shame to yourself and your family".
Confirmed sighting: Subway "Sublime" Design A Sub For London 2010 Competition Winner
Posted: 21:00 Sun 03-Apr-2011. Price: £3.59. Location: Subway, Finchley Road. Sub-flavours: "On your choice of bread". Nutritional unusualness: Veggie Patty, melted cheese, and fresh salad "made truly Sublime with BOTH Honey Mustard and Hot Chilli sauces!!".
reports: OK, so the sandwich wasn't all that amazing but I thought I'd mention it because a) it's another cracking example of Subway's enthusiasm for launching "new" products without having to invest in any different ingredients; b) I've only subsequently discovered that other regions of the UK held their own competitions (does anyone know what the other winners were?); and c) I didn't take a photo of the new Cadbury Dairy Milk KFC Krushem I had the other day, which was so packed with Dairy Milk pieces that they jammed the extra-wide straw, and made the whole thing taste a lot like the (back for 2011) Creme Egg McFlurry.
...Anyway, in other celebratory confectionery:
the longest Easter build-up since the Second World War has seen Disney licensees like this Kinnerton Winnie The Pooh Hunnypot and Bees dodge the potential confusion of 2008's Hollow Milk Chocolate "Winnie", though I did like the sound of these Artisan Du Chocolat fruity creme eggs spotted by Foodstuff Finds in Selfridges. That's also where to go for more on the Fox's Clearly A British Celebration glacier fruits previously mentioned by "Magnetic Ham Sandwich", though thank goodness patriotic savoury-fans have also been catered for with the likes of Pieminster's Kate and Wills Commemorative Pie.
Confirmed sighting: Burger King Melt 'n Middles
Posted: 17:03 Sun 27-Feb-2011. Price: £2.49 (sandwich only). Location: BK opposite Paddington station, and across London. Sub-flavours: Cheesy Mushroom; Chilli Cheese; Blue Cheese.
reports: Sorry I've been meaning to post something about these for weeks, as they're one of the most interesting new high-street products of the year so far (well, until more details emerge about this alleged Fanta fizzy juice drink from McDonald's). Like a lowish-cost alternative to a Big Mac, these are much smaller than a BK Whopper, but contain two beef patties, plus - as the name implies - a layer of melted, flavoured cheese between them. Obviously they don't look as photogenic as they do in the picture but the different cheeses (especially the mushroom and KFC-ish blue) add their own pleasantly noticeable flavours compared to the bacon and Monterey Jack we usually get fobbed off with.
...That said, BK's Sticky Toffee Pudding Fusion McFlurry-alike might have been at least a bit interesting if they'd managed to heat the sauce and pudding bits up somehow. Over in home snacking, the TV-advertised Tillmans Toast Me (£1/pack of 2 introductory offer in Camden Morrisons) largely fulfil their promise of a heavily-breadcrumbed savoury Pop Tart that make your kitchen smell like a transport cafe while, in other cheesy weirdness, the slightly yoghurty Dill and Mint Raitha are my favourite Anita's Chips so far, mostly because the Mango and Lime Chutney ones taste like a salty Starburst. Tayto are bringing back Golden Wonder Ringos in Che-he-heese and Onion, or Salt and Vinegiggles flavours (around 30p/28g bag) - let's hope they do a better job than Seabrook's new Goodbye salt Hello flavour Jacket Potato With Creamy Butter crisps, which Foodstuff Finds hails as "the strangest concoction of a flavouring that I have ever had the misfortune to try."
Confirmed sighting: Wagamama Breakfast menu
Posted: 23:48 Sun 13-Jun-2010. Price: From £2.55 (Coconut Porridge). Location: Heathrow Terminal 5. Sub-flavours: See below.
reports: Regular readers will know my caution when "the media monkeys and the junket junkies [...] invite you to their plastic pantomime" - but, at the same time, I also consider breakfast to be the most important snack of the day (and apparently the only place in the UK you can get Wagamama Breakfast now is once you're through security in Heathrow Terminal 5). So I accepted a PR invite and got to sample their really-quite substantial
Wagamama Kedgeree (sticky rice with haddock, egg and curry sauce) and
Okonomiyaki (traditional Japanese-style pancake - similar to the ones Londoners can also try in Abeno or around Spitalfields market).
As you can see from more of the menu, they also offer traditional breakfast fare, plus a mild-but-pleasant
Coconut Porridge with apple and chilli
jam - like an idiot, I didn't try the Breakfast Yaki Soba noodles with bacon, egg, mushroom and tomato, but if anyone's flying from Terminal 5 in future, I'd love to hear what you make of it.
...In other heatable eatables: Pork Farms' jelly-free Bowyers Recipe pork pies are a bit boring compared to the company's previous innovations, though I have higher hopes for Batchelors' Saucy Super Noodles (in Chicken with Tomato and Herb Sauce, Beef with BBQ Sauce, Chow Mein with Chinese Sauce, and Curry with Mango Sauce), and Ginsters' fiery cheese wrap, BBQ beef wrap, sweet chilli bar and meat feast slice. And is it just me, but is there a faint hint of press release surrounding "Meateater's" submission on Wicked Pig pork snacks (in Firecracker Chilli, Hog Roast, Sweet and Sour and Southern Fried), as follows..? "Just spotted a new meat snack in my local Tesco chiller cabinet. Looks similar to Fridge Raiders, but pork instead of chicken. Bought a few bags to try out (one of each flavour - they were on offer) and they're very good. Unlike Fridge Raiders, you can enjoy these bad boys hot by popping the bag in the microwave for around a minute."
Confirmed sighting: Greggs Chilli Steak Lattice
Posted: 21:08 Sun 01-Nov-2009. Price: £1.09, or two for £2. Location: Greggs.
Sorry, this sighting did arrive earlier in the week but maybe they'll still be available at a discount - anyway, "Fishface" reports: A Hallowe'en twist on the usual Steak Bake, and very disappointing overall. The advert has a bottle of Tabasco sauce looming in the background, however I think this may be more of a "serving suggestion" rather than an indication of the ingredients as spicy it was not, ho hum.
...Elsewhere, Foodstuff Finds has already taken a look at some of Greggs' other autumnal offerings, along with Cadbury's Halloween Mallows and Mr Kipling Toffee Apple Bakewells (which thankfully didn't taste as strongly of toffee as this Brothers Toffee Apple Cider which I probably found in Morrisons). And just to conclude this year's Samhain celebrations, I appear at just over 40 minutes into these two podcasts discussing the likes of Respect The Mojo Squirting Skulls (26p/packet, Tesco) and Haribo Super Sour Monsters, the latter sadly not advertised as "Kids and adults fear it so... the scary world of Haribo".
Confirmed sighting: Golden Wonder The Nation's Noodle
Posted: 18:04 Sun 04-Oct-2009. Price: 89p. Location: Thornton Cleveleys Morrisons. Sub-flavours: Chicken and Mushroom, Chip Shop Curry, Beef and Tomato, Sweet and Sour (Noodles); Spaghetti Bolognese, Macaroni Cheese, Spicy Tomato (Pasta). Nutritional unusualness: Curry flavour contains 6% apple and raisins, 379 kcal, 11.8g fat, 1.63g salt.
Long-time instant noodle connoisseur "Lee Taylor" reports that he "Spotted these in Morrisons, there is also a a range of pastas in the same style tubs" - and, to be honest, he doesn't sound much more excited about them than "Kevin", who submitted the slightly more PR-flavoured: "Golden Wonder is back with Noodles in a pot - just add water and all that jazz... Their website is at thenationsbest.co.uk."
...In somewhat less vegetarian alternatives: Chicken Tikka is Subway's new Sub Of The Day for Mondays, though competition is hotting up there from the likes of Rustlers' Hot Subs Tangy Meatballs (initially only £1 in Morrisons); according to some, Young's microwaveable fish fingers could be "the fastfood breakthrough of the decade"; and, top marks for trying, but I wasn't really bowled over by Burger King's mini breakfast pancakes or their Bacon Caesar Angus (pic uploaded at full size in case you wanted to know that the Onion Straws were "cooked in the same oil as chicken and fish products"). Also, at a staggering £5.99 for a "Value meal", I'd rather go to the so-far consistently excellent Banger Bros.
Raspberry Cheesecake/ Coconut/ Rum and Raisin Carte D'Or
Dormen luxury handmade crisps
Betty Bassett's Red Liquorice Allsorts
Wrigley's Extra Ice Mint tins
Mr Kipling's Big French Fancy
Smarties Party Ice Cream/ Calippo Fizz
Jelly Belly Sport Beans
Ginsters microwavable ready meals
Carte D'Or sorbets/ Raspberries and Meringue Haagen-Dazs
Minara Micro Meals in a jar
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