We are definitely enjoying the UK Costco shopping experience more since we’ve started going on Saturday morning. And that seems so strange to me because it is completely opposite of the US Costco locations I’ve been to on Saturday; usually it’s a mad house. But we have noticed that it almost always seems to be unpleasant weather when we go lately, either rain or cold.
Also, if you’re in the US, don’t forget to check out the upcoming coupon book and avoid buying those things that will be having coupons starting August 19.
Kirkland Signature Maple Syrup – I’m not a maple syrup expert but this seems pretty good to me. It is 100% pure maple syrup, nothing added in or just maple flavored. It’s also from Canada, which seems like the home of all things maple. Even though it is from Canada, they use the US system of grading:Grade A medium amber. The smell is really nice, with a subtle scent and the taste matches with a not too sweet taste, it’s just the perfect amount of sweetness for me. And of course, it has the expected maple taste that you expect from good, quality maple syrup. We had some on pancakes and it was awesome! So much better than imitation stuff or other syrups. I think I like that it isn’t too sweet. It enhances flavors instead of just overpowers them and I’m pretty sure this is because it has a lighter flavor and less sweetness than other syrups. Plus, there are a ton of ways that you can use maple syrup, other than just on pancakes, waffles and French toast. Really, any place you want a little touch of sweetness, it could definitely help with that. I also like that the KS syrup isn’t so watery that you think it’s just a little bit of maple and a whole lot of water (I know you’ve had this type of lousy maple syrup). I don’t know if this is something that is different about the way they refine the syrup or what. In any case, it isn’t as thick as other syrups (of the imitation variety) but not so watery that it won’t actually cling to your food either. And sure, it’s high in calories but you console yourself with the fact that it is a great source of manganese and zinc. The one negative to someone with a tiny fridge, like me, is that you have to refrigerate the syrup after you open it. But it’s worth the fridge space. 32 fl. oz. / 946 mL for £9.79 (US: $15.29). Item #: 0386374
Goikoa Spanish Chorizo – This was great! While there are a number of ways that you could use this, paella, with scrambled eggs, sliced and grilled for tapas, or even paired with pasta. I used it for adding a little flavor and interest to black bean soup. Chorizo has a smidge of a spicy flavor going on, not really hot, but lots of flavor. It gets all that flavor from smoked paprika, various herbs, nutmeg and garlic. The mix of flavors is just really great for pairing with lots of different things. The sausage is quit firm, so if you’re going to do something with it, you’re probably going to want to slice it, which is what I did. I had intended to try it with scrambled eggs, because that is one of the suggestions on the package that caught my eye. However, after I made the black bean soup with it, Dave was wanting more of that instead. I don’t have an exact recipe or anything, but I used minced garlic, sliced chorizo, minced fresh chiles, and diced red onions. I sauteed all of that up with some olive oil until the onions were translucent and then I added the black beans. I used canned beans and dumped them and their liquid right in with the other stuff and then added some water until it seemed like a decent consistency (highly precise). After that I just cooked it on medium-low heat for about an hour. Though, it probably wouldn’t matter too much how long you cooked it for, as long as you use a very low heat. When I served it, I grated a little bit of cheddar cheese on the top too. It was so delicious and the chorizo added just that little something extra to it too; perked it up a bit. 500 g (about 20 sausage links) for £3.89 (US: $6.07). Item #: 0109477.
Ford Farm Vintage West Country Farmhouse Cheddar – Did I just write about cheese last week? I try to space it out so I don’t look like all I do is sit around eating cheese all the time. This cheese is made using only milk from either Ford Farm’s own dairy or from other Dorset farms within a 30 mile radius. This cheddar has also been given Product of Designated Origin (PDO) status for the West Country cheesemakers. It is a wonderful cheddar that has been aged for more than 12 months, which gives it a really strong, deep cheddar taste. It’s not mild in the slightest, but full of rich, nutty flavor. Since it is so strong, you have to be a little careful about what you try to pair it with, you wouldn’t want to try to use it in something where a delicate cheese flavor was called for, let’s say. It is great on crackers and would probably work equally well with apple slices. It’s also great to use for cheeseburgers or grilled cheese sandwiches, and would be awesome in real mac and cheese. I used it to grate on the chorizo soup too. Dave finds it a little too strong, so I’m enjoying it but he’d like a milder cheese next time, I think. 1.018 kg for £6.10 (US: $9.52). Item #: 0065861.
Garofalo Signature Line Spaghetti – We are big pasta eaters in our house. We always have spaghetti on hand, as well as the shaped pasta like penne or gemelli. Our favorite, is garlic buttered spaghetti. It’s easy to make but really has so much delicious flavor. Of course, anyone you’re talking to the next day might not appreciate it quite as much. There are so many ways you can prepare pasta and it really is our easy weekday dinner. You can pretty much saute up most vegetables or meats and have a great pasta dish in no time at all. They’ve been stocking the Garofalo signature line of pastas at Costco (UK and US) for a while now, and we’ve always been big fans. Garofalo has been producing pastas for more than 200 years, so they’ve got it down at this point. Here’s a little information from the Garofalo website about their pasta: “Semolina wheat used to create Garofalo Signature pastas must meet the highest standards for protein content and color quality to guarantee a product with superior aesthetic and flavor that will perform consistently whether prepared by a professional or home chef. Garofalo performs over 25 quality checks on each of its Signature cuts and runs all standard industry controls twice to ensure unmatched quality for its Signature line of pastas.” And that explains why every time I get it, it turns out beautifully. The one tip I would give, no matter what type of pasta you’re making or what brand you’re using: don’t rinse your pasta! If you rinse your pasta after cooking it, you’re going to get rid of all the starches that will help the sauce or oil or butter (or whatever) to cling to the pasta. And you don’t want that. 8, 500 g packages for £4.99 (US: $7.79). Item #: 0069981.
Merrell Women’s Waterpro Ultra-Sport Shoes – I loved these shoes and I’m really bummed but I have to take them back. They are very lightweight and the main body of the shoe is mesh so they are great for summer or water involved sports where you need shoes. They are also designed with Merrell’s QForm, which combines design and technology specifically geared towards a woman’s body. It all has to do with the angle of our quadriceps between our hip and knee; ours is much more pronounced that of men. So, Merrell has changed the way the foot is cushioned and held by changing around the midsole to add different zones, thus leading to better foot alignment. They’ve also got a great air cushioning layer that feels great when you’re walking or running. The shoes have a nice rugged sole that you could definitely use for walking, running, or hiking. Oh yeah, they’ve also got this great Aegis microbe shield to control odor, staining, and deterioration. What more could you ask for in a shoe? And they felt so good….until they started rubbing a big blister on the top of one of my innocent toes. Sadly, it was just on one of my feet and I finally figured out that it was because of a mis-sewn piece that had excess fabric on the inside. I would keep them if there were anyway that I could fix the problem, but I don’t think I can, so I’m taking them back to Costco. I’m hoping they’ll still have some and maybe I’ll be able to get another pair that doesn’t have this problem. £23.99 (US: $37.46). Item #: 0108953.