Month: October 2014

Review of Slim Fruits (Fruit Flavoured Pastilles)

      Our guest blogger at TSS on this occasion is Adele S from Surrey. Adele expresses honesty in her writing and as she likes to try new things we are very happy to receive her review of Slim Fruits. Over to you, Adele: “I’m going to start by saying these are the best pastilles I have ever found! There is only a matter of a couple of calories per pastille so you don’t feel guilty at all! They come in two flavours: peach melba and rhubarb and strawberry, both of which are delicious and I couldn’t pick a favourite out of the two! You may think that the calories are the highlight of slim fruits but really it’s only the beginning. They have the same fibre content as SIX slices of wholemeal bread, yes you heard that right! They are a sweet that is actually beneficial to you, who would have ever thought there would be such a thing. The benefits of having soluble fibre in the pastilles works when they combine with …

Stage Review – This is my Family at The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

If timing really is the key, never was it more crucial to get the timing right than in this case. Such clever writing from Tim Firth, who ignores the rule of punctuation so that the song lyrics staccato and andante away, so to make subtle exchanges with the dialogue; allowing the story to unfold and roll along nicely. No arguing that Director, Daniel Evans achieves so much here, but the musical direction of Caroline Humphris provides the centre pinning. Cast members, perfect in their individual roles as members of one family, exercise great memory work and vocal skills. Combine these talents with that of the musicians, plus an expert production team, and you have the makings of a great show. We meet family members through the wide eyes and sprightly song of a young schoolgirl called Nicky. This is Nicky’s family. I am a sucker for family and for exploring peoples’ positioning within, and this new musical does just that. It is insightful, respectful, funny and poignant. It is all those things and often at …

Book Review – LOVE OBJECTS by Bloomsbury

LOVE OBJECTS – Edited by Anna Moran and Sorcha O’Brien ISBN 978-1-4725-1719-7 (published August 2014 by Bloomsbury) RRP £19.99 CONTENTS: List of Illustrations Notes on Contributors Editors’ foreword Acknowledgements Introduction Four Main Sections Bibliography Index Fifteen contributors: consisting of doctorate and degree holders, and academics, who all use the literary writer’s style of language which is channeled in essays with particular intention. An anthology then (a collection of literary works), but remaining a book that will sit in the non-fictional category of any book seller outlets. 166 Pages of lengthy text (in small fonts) where commentators are critically exploring, with great intensity and insightfulness, the emotional relationship people have with objects. Photographic Images: there are a fair few, half page in the main and printed in black and white. For anyone studying or having avid interest in Art History and Family Histories, people observation; symbolic representation (religious or otherwise); arts and crafts; the material world, sexualized goods; vintage and retro goods, heritage and memory tracing activities – you will find the content in this book …

Stage Review – Of Mice and Men at Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Steinbeck’s novella, which is so, essentially, American has been a school curriculum favourite in the study of English Literature for many years; this famous tale is wonderfully articulated in this stage play. The heavy-handed Lennie is a big guy, and his companion and protector, George, is always, defensively, describing him as being ’not bright, but a hell of a good worker and a nice fella’, to any potential bosses and other ranch hands they meet, in his desperate effort to secure them both some short term work and short term shelter. The meek and mindless, Lennie, and the stolid and staunch-like, George are sublimely characterised by actors, Benjamin Dilloway and Michael Legge. You get a real feel of the remoteness of a farming community and the hard times Steinbeck’s characters are experiencing. It is obvious, because of the way they are living, that there is little reward for the sacrifices they are making and for their hard work. The music, played by members of the cast, adds to that southern American feel and there is …

Review of Strictly Come Dancing Puzzle by Ravensburger (1000 pieces)

“ Very pleased with the Ravensburger puzzle of Strictly Come Dancing. The puzzle pieces are of very good quality and lots of colour. There is so much detail of all the dancers in their glitter. It tells you the name of the dance with the dance partners. An excellent puzzle” From Jennifer M (Poringland, Norfolk, UK) Jennifer is the perfect choice to provide feedback about this item, and in just a few sentences she is confirming that Ravensburger has encapsulated the spirit of ‘Strictly’ in a puzzle form. Jennifer will also be attending professional dancer and Strictly regular, Brendan Cole and his Night To Remember touring show when the date falls close to her home next February. As Jennifer herself goes dancing regularly, and tunes into this autumn show and all the extra TV slots devoted to it; she is truly a voice of wisdom on the subject. Note – the dancers and contestants illustrated on the puzzle  are that of last year’s 2013 participants.  

The Breakfast and Sweet Treats, Gluten-Free, Range by Genius

The Breakfast/Sweet Treats Range consists of croissants, chocolate chip brioche, pains au chocolat, iced cup cakes and sliced fresh Bread all of which are gluten-free, dairy free, and wheat free. Croissants and Pains au Chocolat were launched in 2012. The rice flour and tapioca content is very obvious, with both pastries having a slight graininess to them in terms of taste and texture, this is not a negative but merely an observation. If something forms a base and is contained within food then of course it will be evident in a product’s make up. Both are pre-baked items and need to be heated in the oven, to warm them through. Both items have enough margarine (hydrogenated) content for the items not to be too dry. Croissants are a little plain, better when served with strawberry jam. Chocolate Chip Brioche Rolls – launched in Tesco this year this product has a tear and share kind of texture; is sweet, reasonably light and a good match for its wheat containing counterparts. This is a gluten, wheat, dairy …

Halloween from Yankee Candle – A Blog Feature

Now and again a guest blogger provides us with feedback about a product they have put to the test. Briony S from Tacolneston in Norfolk has sent through her thoughts on the Witches Brew 2014 (Medium Jar) RRP £16.99 from The Yankee Candle Company and she also talks in her engaging and friendly way about the spirit of Halloween and what the festival means, or doesn’t mean, to her particularly. Halloween is never a holiday I’ve really celebrated. We always have sweets in the house for the Trick or Treater’s who never come, and I often turn a Pepper into a lantern as it’s cheaper, easier, and smaller than a pumpkin, but that is the extent of things. This year with the little one I’m a little more intrigued but not a huge amount, I’ve got him the cutest Halloween sleep suit! There’s a jar of lollipops at the ready in case we do get a knock at the door; and then there is my lovely Witches Brew scent Yankee Candle Jar. I love the …

Review of the Premium Apple Pie Portions from the selection range by erlenbacher (trade business)

We were sent a number of portions of the Premium Apple Pie for review. The items had been preserved in dry ice which is a shock freezing technique using carbon dioxide. Note: The official message we have received from Food Safety in Catering governance is that frozen items should be defrosted in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature, so we followed this protocol before testing. This is an apple pie without a pastry top, the base is made from short crust pastry, although short there is not much bite to it and it is more cake-like in texture. Recent methods adapted by many chefs when making fruit pies is to poach fruit in pan with a little butter and sugar, spices and other filling ingredients, first, before settling in between the pastry components. If the apple used is a variety that will hold its form then the result does not need to be mushy mix whether you pre cook in a pan first or put it uncooked straight into the pie. The apples used …

TSS Business of the Month for October 2014 is PRESTAT

The sun is appearing lower in the sky and the nights are drawing in and we are full of good feelings for being able to identify Prestat as our Business of the Month for October. Aside from the fact Prestat have their own almost story-book tale behind it; we have arrived at an early in the month conclusion, to feature the business, because there are some special chocolate items available; especially fitting for serving at events and occasions which falls within the autumn season. Namely the Orange and Cardamom Chai wafer thins (see featured pic and Figure 1); the Black Forest Gateau Truffles and the Thundercloud truffle, but more about these and other award winning products at the end. The company’s background in brief: Past owners (the Dufours) happened to be the French inventors of the first ever chocolate truffle. From 1902 through to the 1950s Antoine Dufour, and later his son, Tony, made and sold high class Prestat Chocolates from central and fashionable London based premises Under the Croft ownership of the business (which …