Saturday, 3 September 2016

The August Degustabox review

Where is the time going? I can't believe that we're into September already. It doesn't seem two minutes ago that we were celebrating the end of term and now, the kids are heading back to school. I can't complain though, as we did manage to pack a lot into our summer holidays. In the final days of August, the latest Degustabox arrived, heralding a final taste of summer but also leaning towards some practical back-to-school snacks and quick-fix breakfasts.

Here's what we discovered in this month's box.

As a total globe-cooking addict, the first thing that leapt out at me was the Peruvian Cook Sauce from Capsicana Ltd -  it is a chilli & lemon sauce, which sounded like it would be mega-spicy but it's only rated "medium" in terms of heat. It is based on Peru's 'Aji Verde' sauce, which is usually served with one of the country's most popular dishes, 'Pollo a la Brasa' (Peruvian roasted chicken). Capsicana use Peruvian-grown aji amarillo chilli peppers for a bit of a 'kick', while the lemon provides a tangy citrus bite. It provided a gorgeous zesty, zingy dish with chicken and was a fabulous cooking shortcut when I needed a quick meal on the table after going back to work.

I'm intrigued by the other products in their range too - Brazilian Chilli & Coconut Sauce (hot) and Mexican Chilli & Honey (mild). Other Degustaboxers have been trying out the other varieties - you can see what Galina thought of the Brazilian one over at Chez Maximka.

Carrying on the exotic cuisine theme, there was also a jar of Geeta's Premium Mango Chutney - the perfect accompaniment to curry or for dipping poppadoms in, or it can also be used to jazz up sandwiches, baked potatoes or stir fries.

There are also two pouches of Geeta's Curry Paste - Rogan Josh and Tikka - both medium heat so they're not too spicy for us and perfect for getting a meal on the table in 15 minutes when I've had a long day at work. They're also great for using up the leftovers after a Sunday roast - just chop up the leftover meat, potatoes and vegetables and put in a pan with a tin of tomatoes, some crème fraîche and some of the curry paste. Quick, tasty and frugal ! 

NutriPot Aromatic Thai Noodles & Moroccan Couscous - Now that she's moved up to secondary school, which is just opposite our house, Juliette has decided to come home for lunch, which means that occasionally, she'll be left to fend for herself at lunchtime. She can have a sandwich or use the microwave or kettle but she is under strict instructions not to use the oven or turn the gas on. These pots are ideal for her - she loved the couscous one but thought the noodles were a bit hard, but that might have been down to user error, as I wasn't there to supervise !

Rakusen’s Snackers - in both regular and gluten-free varieties. Lunchbox-friendly, flame-baked snacks, with less than 1% fat and only seven calories in every cracker. They can be nibbled on as they are straight from the pack or paired with whatever sweet or savoury toppings you fancy - cucumber, cherry tomatoes, cream cheese and salted caramel have all been declared delicious here at The Madhouse !

Get More Multivitamins Sparkling Lemon & Lime drink - If you want to get this new school year off to a good start, for you and the kids, now is a great time to make sure you're getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet, to help boost your immune system and keep the back-to-school bugs at bay. This drink, made with spring water, natural flavours and no added sugar, is a simple and tasty way to get your daily dose of vitamins. Biotin (Vitamin B7) and magnesium to help make you feel more energetic, Vitamins B6 and B12 to support your immune system, and zinc to help you maintain healthy skin, hair and nails. It is fortified with 100% of your daily dose of vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, B7, B12, C and 25% of magnesium and zinc. I popped it in my bag to take to work and I found it to be a pleasant-tasting, refreshing drink, so the fact that it is vitamin-enriched is a nice added bonus.

Fentiman's Sparkling Lime & Jasmine drink - A grown-up soft drink with a refreshing, unusual and sophisticated flavour. Perfect as an alternative to the usual boring soft drinks if you're the designated driver or you don't want to drink alcohol. Serve over ice with a sprig of fresh mint - delicious and very summery.

Mahou Cinco Estrellas beer - A beer created to satisfy the most discerning palates, made using the highest quality varieties of hops and yeast which shapes its characteristic body and flavour. Its origins lie in Madrid, so it is the perfect pairing for Spanish cuisine and tapas.

Tabasco Sweet & Sticky BBQ Sauce and Marinade - I was slightly concerned when I saw the word tabasco because I thought it would be blow-your-head-off hot, but it's not - it has a lovely sweet and smoky flavour, that is great as a marinade for chicken, pork or ribs, but can also be stirred into chilli for a beautifully rich flavour.

Willy Chase's Fit Popcorn got a very positive reception - the Madhouse kids love popcorn and they also had a good giggle at the name ! I love the idea of healthier, farm-fresh popcorn too and the fact that it comes from the founder of Tyrells Crisps filled me with confidence and expectation. I wasn't disappointed. Willy Chase’s Fit popcorn begins and ends its journey at the Chase farm in rural Herefordshire, where their own corn is air-popped by hand, using locally sourced ingredients. Each pack is popping with flavour, but without the guilt. We sampled the Apple Cider Vinegar variety - a flavour we would normally associate with crisps rather than popcorn, but it was surprisingly tasty.

Clipper Lime & Ginger Green Tea - very nice, according to the friend I passed it on to, because I'm not a fan of hot drinks in general. The health benefits of green tea have long been documented and the addition of lemon and ginger makes it very palatable apparently.

Oloves Chili & Oregano Olives - Very tasty and the snack-sized packs make them great for lunchboxes. There are no fiddly stones to worry about. Add to cubes of cheese, halved cherry tomatoes and some leftover roast chicken, then stir through pasta, couscous or lettuce for a healthy lunch that can be put together in minutes.

Dorset Cereals Bircher Muesli Mix - I've made a new (school) year's resolution to grab a few minutes every morning to eat breakfast before heading out of the door to work, and I really like the idea of Bircher muesli - oats soaked overnight in liquid (apple juice, coconut water, milk, yogurt ... whatever you fancy really). Dorset Cereals have produced this version with finely milled oats which can be soaked in as little as 30 minutes. The raspberries and blackcurrants add some nice zing and I like to add a sprinkling of nuts or seeds on top for some extra crunch too.

I made some vibrant purple Bircher muesli using the drained-off liquid from some homemade blackberry and apple compote which put a smile on my face in the morning because of its amazing colour - it tasted lovely too !

A subscription to Degustabox costs £12.99 per month including delivery, with each box having a value of much more than that, but the great news is, I have a discount coupon code for you which now gives you a whopping £7 off the price of your first box - just enter code BLDEG15 at the checkout - making it great value and a fab way to discover new products.

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Disclosure : We received the box in order to write an honest review. As a Degustabox blogger, I receive all of the products that go into the monthly boxes, but subscribers may not get exactly the same selection.


  1. Thank you for your kind mention! I wonder if Peruvian sauce is as hot as Brazilian. It was way too hot for me, lol.

    1. No, Peruvian is only medium whereas Brazilian is hot ! ;-)