Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Tesco Orchard Review: Finest Vintage Farmhouse Cheddar

"CHEESE"........ and like that the human sized mice in my house come scurrying over to see what cheese the Tesco delivery man has bought this week....blocks, sticks, grated, round, teddy bear shaped......

Personally, to me, cheese is cheese.  As I do the shopping and we are on a budget I tend to buy the huge heavy duty value 1kg mature blocks of cheddar.  But hubby has more sensitive taste buds (after all it is one of only about 6 foods that he eats) and prefers it when I buy a named brand like Cathedral City or Pilgrims Choice.    We don't really steer away from cheddar other then when we have pizza - however it's best not remind the husband about the time he tried to grate the mozzarella ball for home made pizza.

Whether it's

with salad....   

....   on shepherds pie.....

....in a wrap.....

... with some ham on crackers...

.... or on chips with beans....

....it's safe to say cheese forms a huge part of our eating life.

Tesco sent me some vouchers this month to try their Finest range of cheese, so I took up the challenge with their Finest Vintage Farmhouse Cheddar.

It's coming up to Christmas which is the best time for treating everyone and paying that little bit more for something special whether that's a cheeseboard for a dinner party or some Chaource (soft, crumbly French cheese) to make a fondue they have a great range.  Tesco's cheese team have worked with some suppliers, like the Lincet family, for over 10 years. Their finest Gruyere is matured for 10 months in the Swiss Alps using traditional methods, unchanged since 1155 to ensure they bring you the perfect flavour every time.

It's easy for the cheese's natural flavour to become overpowered by other items in the suggestions above which is why I undertook the ultimate in cheesy taste tests, it's complex, so bear with me ....... good old fashioned cheese on toast.

Look - 9/10

With it's chalkboard style design this cheese looks really modern on the shelf, it also looks natural.  The cheese itself is a lovely creamy yellow colour.

Sliceability - 5/10

The Finest Vintage Farmhouse Cheddar is really crumbly.  When we slice our cheese we use a slicer rather than a knife, this cheese does not slice well, however when you use a knife it's far easier.

Meltability - 8/10

boy does this cheese melt.  2 seconds under the grill and it's almost invisable, bubbling away.  The only downside to this is you really need to use twice as much cheese if you want a thick slice to sink your teeth into.


Flavour - 8/10

Personally I found the cheese tasted a little earthy and I wasn't overly taken with it, however hubby loved it.  In fact I had to tell him to leave me some for my toast or he would have eaten the entire block in one sitting.

Price - 5/10

The Finest Vintage Farmhouse Cheddar is £3 for 320g (£9.38/ kg) which compared to their value chedder £5/ kg is really expensive.  However if you compare it to Cathedral City at £11.43/ kg it's much better value and worth switching to see what you think.

Would I buy again?
Unless I was aiming to impress someone with 'expensive cheese' then probably not as it didn't give me much of a WOW factor.  Saying that I've read some great reviews about others in the range and may try something else for a special occasion.

Disclaimer:  I was given money off vouchers enabling me to get the above product for free as part of the Orchard at Tesco Programme.  The thoughts and opinions remain my own.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Book Review: A Year In the Life of A Playground Mother by Christie Barlow

Whether it's your first term in the reception playground or whether you are secretly watching your 9 year old go into class because you are apparently an embarrassment in the playground everyone knows there is more than 1 type of parent, and if you don't you soon will.
When I caught a re-tweet about Christie Barlow's "A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother" I thought this is one I have to read, and I was lucky enough for her to send me a copy for my e-reader.  That night I promptly ran myself a bath and Amazon Fire in hand started the book.

Less then 10% in I was nodding along and thinking YES this is our school playground. Just like Rachel Young, the main character in this novel, I thought the kids starting "Planet School" would be my chance to meet new people but no, due to work I only visit the school playground on a Friday afternoon, this makes me a bit of an outsider.  In a way this is great as it gives me time to playground watch,not so much fun at the numerous parties you are obliged to make conversation at.  

I could totally relate to this book pinpointing where the playground mafia stand and whose mothers they are.  Just like Rachel I couldn't give a monkeys what I wear on the school run, hey if I could get away with my Eyeore onesie you betcha I'd wear it.  How some of these mothers turn up with not a hair out of place and fully made up is beyond me. ... I mean they should be grateful I managed to remember what time pick-up was.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Summer Holiday: Stockeld Park, Wetherby

I stumbled upon this place a few months ago when we were looking for something to do.  Me and the kids think Mr Bloom is great and as he was appearing I tried to persuade him to make the 3h journey (each way) on public transport to go.... he wasn't amused and put his foot down.   So when mum asked me for places I wanted to go when we were camping at Sheriff Hutton I immediately thought of here, in a car it's only an hour from mine.

If you haven't been and you have small children it's definitely one to put on your to-do list, the boys (and us) had the most amazing time.

The park is split into 8 zones (9 if you count the cafe) and we explored most of them, this isn't a trip that takes a couple of hours, we were here from 12-5 and could easily have stayed another hour if we'd had the time.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Lush: August Haul

Another pay day and another trip to the little shop of goodies.  I will admit I stepped foot in there a couple of weeks ago just to pick up a couple of the new ones as I couldn't wait but I'll add that to this list ......

It's a new season for Lush and with it come lots of new products and the in-branch launch of some previous Oxford Street exclusives.

It's safe to say glitter is the flavour of the month in Lush HQ this season.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Summer Holiday: Whitby

Having not been to Whitby for years and years I then ended up going twice within a very short space of time.  Once when on holiday with my family and then again last week when we went away with my mum for a few nights.

Whitby has changed very little since featuring in Bram Stokers "Dracula", an ancient port with a working harbour and ruined abbey not to mention sandy beaches with donkey rides, amazing ice cream and fantastic fish and chips.

The town is divided by the River Esk with a ”swing-bridge” across it which lifts to let larger vessals through.

There is so much to do in and around Whitby but we'd have needed weeks to see it all.  Here's my pick of what to do when there if you only have a day.