TRIED AND TESTED | Marks and Spencer’s Tastes of the British Isles Range
So, it’s June, it’s meant to be picnic time, but this is Britain where there’s a heat wave one day and rain the next. Our plans of an outdoor lunch with friends at Surrey’s very own ‘beach’ at Frensham Ponds testing out Marks & Spencer‘s new Tastes of the British Isles Range were scuppered by the weather, an indoor lunch it was then.
Lately, it’s all been about Korean food, Peruvian food, Japanese food, anything but British basically. M&S decided to put the British Isles back firmly on the food map with this new range with pimped up forgotten classics like Taffety Tart, Whitby Buns and Parkin.
M&S head of product development, Sandra Ziles, says: “It’s about time we celebrate our wonderful culinary history, which is why we’ve developed a collection that showcases our country’s unique tastes at their best. Our team of experts travelled numerous cities and towns and explored dozens of historical recipe books to create a world-beating collection of modern dishes from the British Isles.”
This is the biggest new range from M&S outside Christmas. Their products identified with a ‘Tastes of the British Isles’ logo are all over the store, even the sweets have got in with the action – Fizzy Pop Sweets (£2.10) – ginger beer, pink lemonade, cola and cherryade (gelatine-free too).
Fluffy Mandarin orange pancakes (£2) straight from the toaster made for a great (and easy) breakfast, even fussy eater Charlotte approved. All Butter Yorkshire Parkin Cookies (£3) are so addictive and sturdy – perfect for tea dunking and stealing from the jar when I wasn’t looking… [guilty as charged – Ade.]
My favourite by far from the limited amount that we tried from the range has to be the Hog Roast Sausage Rolls (£2.50). Made from pulled pork, sausage meat, Bramley apple sauce and a pork crackling topping just like the amazing Hog Roast from the Grill range. We also tried the Pork & Chilli Sausage Rolls (£2.50), with a low-key chilli kick that doesn’t scare off the kids. We popped ours in the oven first (you can eat them hot or cold), hot is always going to better, cold sausage rolls are just wrong.
Ploughman’s Pickle Pork Pies (£2.40) are a great little idea, Ade was all over them, looking at me with puppy dog eyes as he wanted to eat the whole lot.
The Afternoon Tea Cakes (£3) were washed down with a cup of tea and a homemade blackberry gin chaser. A few weeks ago my aunt was down to help sort out our excuse of a garden, luckily for us, she accepted payment in food and booze.
Talking of cake, the dense Blackcurrant Fool Cake (£3) and Rhubarb & Custard Cake (£3) are fab too, the rhubarb and custard a true cake version of the sweet. We only scratched the surface of what’s on offer, every time I’ve been back since I’ve spotted something new. Like the Cool Cucumber Martini, Fidget Pork Pie and Cranachan – a popular Scottish dessert often referred to in Scotland as ‘Crowdie Cream’. Oh, and the Damson Lemonade Jelly Pea & Mint Vodka. Maybe by the time ‘summer’ is over, we’ll have worked our way through the range…
Marks and Spencer provided the above dishes, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.