This is the 3rd Degustabox I've had, after signing up to this subscription based food box a couple of months ago. With Degustabox you get a top quality, fun box of new foods to try every month. The idea being that you try new foods at a lower price than you’d find them in the shops.
Here's what's inside September 2017's Degustabox:
American Kitchen Columbian Albondigas Sauce
I’ve recently come across this brand in my local Morrison’s. The sauce is described as ‘ a comforting tomato sauce for meatballs’ and is labelled as being ‘mild’. It’s made to serve 2 people. Looking at the back, the ingredients include smoked paprika, nutmeg, chilli pepper, bay leaf & garlic. Opening the pack, the sauce smelt really interesting and also quite strong and since we don’t eat meat, I decided to use it in a vegetable chilli. I fried up some onions, mushrooms, and a bit of quorn mince, then added chopped tomatoes and red kidney beans with this sauce added in. The result was a big bowl of warming chilli, which would serve 4 (but we ate it all), and we loved it. There were lots of different layers of taste to the sauce and it tasted totally unlike anything we’ve had before. So a fresh meal idea. Apparently there are 5 other sauces in the range.
American Kitchen Coconut & Chilli Rice
We eat a lot of microwavable rice and my favourite is Tilda’s coconut flavour basmati. So I was keen to try this one. What struck me about it was the utterly different flavour, and the way it looked different too. It has the appearance of a dry pan fried rice - with the coconut having some colour and texture to it. It is much more savoury than Tilda’s rice and has a more 'grown up' flavour. I really liked it and it went perfectly with the vegetable chilli I made as above. I would try this again, particularly in the autumn/winter months. Apparently there are 5 other rice flavours in the range.
Seriously Strong Spreadable Squares
Degustabox had a coupon for this spreadable cheese. I chose the 'light' version, and the pack had 8 small squares of soft cheese inside. I like buying small portions of cheese as you can measure out how much you're having at once. It was a posh box with a little patterned liner, making it a nice thing to put on a tea or supper table. We had them with salad and crackers and both enjoyed the taste. They taste quite a bit stronger than Dairylea or Laughing Cow. However I was surprised to see that the calories in these are significantly higher than that found in the light version of Laughing Cow (192cals per 100gm vs 147cals), so for me I wouldn't particularly buy again. Additionally they are made in France from Scottish Cheddar, so quite a few food miles involved.
Greens Creamy Egg Custard Filling
I’ve never used this product before and it was the first thing I decided to have a go at. You can make the custard and pop into a ready made pastry case or make your own*. There is enough of the custard to fill a 7 inch flan dish, and to serve 6 people. I was unsure how to make this as I was expecting it to work like custard which goes thick as you cook it, however with this product it is more like when you make jelly (it sets later). You simply add a pint of milk, bring to the boil, then boil for a minute, pour it into the flan case and leave it to cool and set. This takes about an hour, you then pop in the fridge to chill. It’s so easy! We loved this light airy pud and I think it would be amazing with a sprinkling of raspberries on the top too. It’s not too sweet which is ideal for our taste. One of the things I like about the product is the reverse of the box, which is vintage styled - Green’s have been making baking products for over 100 years. Of course dried egg powder which is a key ingredient in this, was used during the war due to rationing. I’ve never used it before today - at just 69p it’s a bloomin’ bargain!
If you visit the Greens website you’ll find a recipe for Bread & Butter Pudding which uses the egg custard mix too. One thing I did not realise is that Greens make loads of different dessert mixes, so I will have to take a closer look at what they do, having tried this successfully. Below is a 1960/70s Taunton Vale flan dish for sale at yay retro! why not take a look now?
*Make your own pastry - 4 ounces flour, 2 oz fat (ie. clover light), ½ tspn sugar, very cold water. In a food mixer blend to breadcrumbs, slowly add water to form a ball. Roll out on floured board to fit dish.
Mentos Mints in Sharing Bag
These are the same as the regular tubes of Mentos, but they come in a sharing bag with both the mint and spearmint varieties. I love these but haven’t had them for a while. It’s a good idea to pop them in a bag like this, as I normally end up buying several tubes at once. These will be living in the car for long journeys or traffic jams! Love the fact they are flavoured with natural ingredients only, and they are only £1.19!
Dream Rice Quinoa
This is a plant based milk replacement product and is in the Ancient Grains range (the other being oat, spelt, buckwheat and linseed.) I tried it to make my regular morning porridge and had raspberries and banana with it. I was really looking forward to this, but am very sad to say I found it unpleasantly savoury tasting. The aroma was also unappealing to me. I did eat it, but declined to eat hubby’s when he also said he didn’t like it. I would imagine it would be alright in something savoury perhaps, but we won’t be trying again. You can use this in smoothies, on cereals or on it's own and it's calcium rich.
Virtue Sparkling Energy Water
When I saw this I thought, hmmm more sugary drinks - but NO! Woop! This is an energy drink with zero calories, zero sugar and no sweeteners - Fantastic! Think sparkling water which gives you a little lift like a cup of tea might, and you’re there. I found it surprising initially as you just think it’s going to be sweet, and when you drink it, it’s like “urrrr….?!” Then you remind yourself, “no, because this is sparkling water” and your tastebuds are back on track. Both the Lemon & Lime and Berries have a light flavour which is more salty than sweet due to the carbonation (as I personally find with sparkling water). The flavour level is rather like when you’re at the end of a drink which has has melted ice cubes in it, this is not a criticism, just a description of the taste level. I would choose this if I needed a pick me up over and above any regular fizzy sweet drink. However at £1.35 each they are too pricey for me really.
Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna Steaks - My Favourite Item in the Box!!!!
Normally I buy own brand tuna in spring water, so this isn’t something I would normally pick up. You can tell this is a top quality product with chunky pieces of pale coloured tuna in their own juices (which you are advised not to throw away as they are rich in omega 3.) I made a tuna and mayo sandwich using Weightwatchers bread. I used nearly the whole tin and had a mega protein rich feast! Apparently this is line caught and as such is ranked #1 by Greenpeace for sustainability. I am SO glad I tried this and will definitely buy again if I can find it in my local Morrisons, even though it is a pricier product (£3.49), as the difference in flavour is noticeable. UPDATE: I could not find this in my local small Morrisons so I bought 12 cans online direct from Wild Planet - That's how much I loved this product!
Green & Black’s Velvet Edition 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate
You cannot go wrong with Green & Black’s chocolate, I love it! Normally I buy the ginger or orange flavour. I am not sure how this is velvety, I guess it doesn’t have that shocking zing which you can have with 70% cocoa versions of dark chocolate? Whatever, it’s completely yum and comes in at only £1.99.
Nestle Cheerios Oat Crisp
I am a cereal addict, I am often eat them at supper time as a treat. With high fibre levels and low fat this is appealing to me. This one has crunchy flakes, oats and grains in it, and has a little more sugar the regular shop brand Cheerios I buy. On tasting it is quite sugary, but not overly so, the balance is just right. Oddly, there are actually more flakes than Cheerios, and these remind of crunchy nut cornflakes but less sweet. I would recommend these as a treat rather than an every day cereal as I prefer to have low or zero sugar breakfast cereals. However, have to say I've munched the whole box already - yumtastic!
San Miguel Gluten Free Beer
This 5.4% ABV beer is a nice thing to have in the fridge after a long hard day packing parcels for yay retro! I love craft beers, so am looking forward to giving this a try. Apparently it’s gluten free as it does not have ingredients such as rice, buckwheat or corn etc in it. I've given it a try and it is light and fruity with just the amount of sweetness. It has a good kick and I would recommend for those people wanting to follow a gluten free diet or really anyone who fancies a beer! (Photo to follow).
Knorr Concentrated Stock
This is a handy sized bottle of beef stock which can be used in your cooking in place of a stock cube. I like the idea of this as you don’t need to melt / mix it with water it as you do with most other stocks. You only need a few drops and I’ll try to give it a go when I next use Quorn in a meal. This is made from real beef so am in two minds about it, being as I am a non meat eater.
Try Degustabox with yay retro! and get money off your first box!
Pop in to the yay retro! shop for a lovely vintage browse now - Products have been shown with: Habitat Monaco & 1960/70s Poole Pottery plates, Praesidium & Taunton Vale trays, Scandinavian mid century fish dish, Woods Beryl dishes, Staffordshire Potteries Mug, vintage Pyrex, 1950s Glasses. Similar items available here at yay retro! here.