I can’t believe that we are already more than a week into 2014! I think I just want to still be on holiday. And of course, the dreary weather we’ve been having lately in London isn’t helping one bit. It makes me want to curl up with a good book and not do much else. I’m having a very hard time getting into the swing of things. By the way, there’s a new Costco UK coupon book starting on Monday and I’ll be posting that tomorrow.
If you are in the US, don’t forget to enter the Link Home Security contest! All entries must be in by 11:59:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time Tuesday, January 15, 2014!
The Cracker Drinks Co. Mango & Passion Fruit Juice Drink – I think anyone that has read my blog for very long probably knows that mango is my favourite fruit and flavour. I love love love the Langers Mango Nectar that you seem to be able to get at Costco locations all over the world except for the UK. So, they keep getting different brands of mango juice and I keep trying it. But really, they just don’t live up to the high level of expectations set by Langers. This was a blend of mango and passion fruit, which sounded like it might be really good. It was just okay. The juice was a bit thin and seemed really sweet. Overly sweet I would say. It didn’t have a natural sweetness taste but one that was clearly from the added sugar. Boo! The good thing about the juice is that it is not from concentrate and does use real fruit and real fruit juice. Actually, mango puree makes up 6% and passion fruit puree makes up another 3% of the juice, but then there’s another 2% that comes from apple. Why? Why does apple need to be in all kinds of juice blends like this? It isn’t called mango, passion fruit, and apple juice, so I don’t think there should be any apple at all. So, I was displeased with the added sugar and the apple. I found that if I added a lot of sparkling water, more water than juice, the sweetness was bearable. However, without the water it was like drinking a Sweet Tart. I had really thought that since it had won the Great Taste gold in 2012 that this was going to be really spectacular juice but it didn’t meet my standards. I wanted to like it, we both did, but neither of us enjoyed it much. We made it through the four containers of it but we were not impressed. But why can’t Costco UK have the Langers Mango Nectar? I really don’t understand this at all. I mean, if I could get it in Australia, I see no reason why the UK can’t have it too. And then they could get rid of all of these inferior, watery mango juices that they have been trying out. 4, 1 litre containers for £3.49 (US: $5.75). Item #: 0157715.
Orexis Moroccan Topped Houmous – Now, on to something that we really were impressed with and enjoyed. This was great! We liked it so much we bought it again before I even had a chance to write about it on here. Whether you spell it hummus or houmous, this is delicious. The base is smooth and creamy and has a delicious taste all on its own. However, to add a little punch to the houmous, they had a large dollop of green harissa in the middle. The green harissa is where the “Moroccan” part comes from and it is great! It’s got a nice spicy kick to it but not so much that your mouth feels like it is on fire and you can’t taste anything else. In this case, I would say that the green harissa just compliments the nice creamy texture and subtle taste of the houmous. We try to always have houmous in our fridge because it is great for a quick afternoon snack and it tastes good too. I like that it is equally yummy with crackers, vegetables of various kinds, tortilla chips and other crisps too. Quite versatile. This is also nice because while the container is bigger than what you might find in the average supermarket it is quite reasonably sized. It is so good you might want to have a bigger container but this is a good size because you have a decent amount of houmous but not so much that you won’t be able to eat it all before it gets less desirable hanging around in your fridge. They have a couple of other varieties at Costco too but right now I am drying a complete blank on what they are but I think one was Greek topped with pine nuts maybe. When I’m feeling healthy I like to have some houmous on celery sticks or carrots, when I’m less healthy and more hungry I go for tortilla chips though. Either way it is a yummy lunch or snack. This is way way better than the Ocado or Waitrose houmous that I usually buy. It’s also much less expensive than the things I normally get at the regular supermarkets which are around 74p per 100 grams but this is just 55p. So, tastier and less expensive. My favourite combination. I’m certainly hoping that Costco keeps this in stock. Maybe I should buy two next time we’re there, just in case. 450 grams for £2.49 (US: $4.10). Item #: 0159641.
Browns Gourmet Sliced Pastrami – We bought this because Dave is working at home now, so lunch is now for two and sandwiches are easy and quick. We weren’t really sure of what this was going to be like since we had only tried the sliced turkey from Browns Gourmet before (also at Costco). But we were hopefully because it looked really of good quality in the package. For those of you that aren’t very familiar with it pastrami is a deli meat made by brining raw meat that is partially dried, seasoned with various herbs and spices, then smoked and steamed. Usually, it is made from beef but I’ve also seen turkey and pork too. The spices are usually some combination of garlic, coriander, black pepper, paprika, cloves, allspice, and mustard seed. The pastrami from Browns Gourmet is made from beef brisket and cut very, very thin. Not cheap thin, but thin so that it makes a nice sandwich. It is also super peppery which makes for amazing sandwiches with lots of flavour. I like to team it with a spicy English mustard, like Coleman’s because it can stand up to something like that. Because the meat is so flavoursome you don’t need to use a ton of it to make a really nice sandwich, though you can if you want because the thin slices stack up really well. I’ve also found that it works well with cheese, which isn’t always the case with lunch meat because sometimes the meat is overpowered by the cheese. When we were at Costco we had decided that this would be great for making a Reuben sandwich. Technically, a Reuben is supposed to be made with corned beef, but this is quite similar and does play well with the other ingredients in a Reuben. We used to have Reubens all the time when I was growing up because we all liked them so much, especially my mom and me. To make a Reuben you’ll need either corned beef or this pastrami, sauerkraut, thousand island or Russian dressing, rye bread, and Swiss cheese. You stack all of your ingredients in between two slices of rye bread and then grill it into a heavenly, delicious sandwich. We usually end up putting ours in the oven for a bit after we grill them to make sure that everything is heated through and that the cheese is fully melted. The Reubens we made with this pastrami were scrumptious! I will definitely be getting more of this on my next trip to Costco. 400 grams for £4.49 (US: $7.39). Item #: 0161619.
Tine Sliced Jarlsberg – To complete our Reuben sandwiches we also needed Swiss cheese and while this isn’t really that, it does melt well and has a somewhat similar taste. Plus, this makes a terrific grilled cheese sandwich which we like to have for dinner with a nice bowl of soup. Jarlsberg is actually a Norwegian cheese that comes from, surprise surprise, Jarlsberg, Norway. It has large holes in it like Swiss and is considered a semi-hard cheese. It has a lot in common with Emmental really, which is a Swiss cheese and another of our favourites. We used to buy Jarlsberg in the big hunks at Costco in the US because we would use it to make fondue or slice it for sandwiches, mostly grilled cheese sandwiches. It has been our standard, go-to cheese for slices on sandwiches or crackers, melted in things like fondue, or truly yummy mac and cheese. But sliced or in a big hunk, Jarlsberg is a great cheese. It’s not too assertive, but has a nice buttery, nutty taste that plays well with anything and it melts beautifully to a creamy smooth texture. The container at Costco is in nice slices that are the perfect thickness for sandwiches, grilled or not. It is 600 grams which means that there are really quite a few slices fanned out in the tray; I’d say there are probably between 30 and 40 slices in the container. So, yeah, you can make lots and lots of sandwiches. I’m amazed by what a good deal it is to buy this at Costco too. At Ocado they have just one option for sliced Jarlsberg and that is a 200 gram Waitrose package for £2.25; or £1.13 per 100 grams. But at Costco you are getting three times that amount for just £3.99; or just £0.67 per 100 grams. That is a great deal, and it is the original Tine Jarlsberg too, which to be fair is probably what the Waitrose version is too but just rebranded for them. In any case, it’s a great cheese and Costco has it for a great price. 600 grams for £3.99 (US: $6.57). Item #: 0020797.