Sunday, 26 December 2010


Just a quick post to assure readers that I'm still around. I'm currently entertaining family and friends over the Christmas and New Year holiday season, and will try to resume blogging again once life returns to normal. Don't worry, I have a few recipes planned and am quite keen to tackle them.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Cold Brew Coffee

In between endless sessions of playing Alien Swarm, my outsourcee has been asking me for more products to sample and review. I have come across the Sainsbury's Basics Ground Coffee a few months ago and have thought of trying to do Tiramisu with it, as my former roommate made it on a regular basis and I wanted to have a go. Having been unable to find Basics alternatives to the other ingredients that made it up though, a number of my friends have suggested that the outsourcee could try his hand at making cold brew coffee.

The premise is simple - put a tablespoon of coffee and a cup of water together, and leave in the fridge for at least 8 hours. What you should have as the end result is a cold and refreshing alternative to one of the most common forms of caffeine intake. In practice, the outsourcee found that the drink did not even remotely resemble coffee (which I suppose was kind of the point, it's not meant to be coffee). It did however taste somewhat like coffee, and did keep him quite awake through the day, perhaps even more so than his usual order from the coffee shops.

And this is perhaps why: the Basics coffee is made from 100% Robusta beans. Those who are more familiar with their coffee would know that this has higher caffeine content than Arabica beans, which are more commonly found in most blends of coffee. They also happen to be cheaper, which makes it even more attractive as a cost-effective solution if one needed regular caffeine intake over a given period of time, like preparing for examinations or meeting a project deadline.

The outsourcee has yet to try this in a regular cup of coffee, as the effect of the caffeine currently coursing through his veins has yet to wear off, but he is happy to let you know how it is like, perhaps in a pre-Christmas footnote. I anticipate however that this is probably not so much for the coffee connoisseurs as it is for the caffeine junkies.

DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Ground Coffee£1.29227g+£variableBetter tasting coffee, maybe

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Shampoo and Conditioner

When I was at university, there were certain products that I tried to avoid from the Basics range, largely due to my suspicions of obvious inferior quality, and my expectations of how much they can get away with. Toiletries in general were a class of products that fell into this area, as it's not too difficult coming up with a shampoo that cleans and does nothing much else for cheap, and so, for my entire time in the UK I avoided such things.

Until my colleague, a regular reader, gave me the Basics shampoo and conditioner on my birthday to try. Now, other than my apprehension already described, there is also a hitherto unspoken policy I had when running this blog, and that is that I will try not to run reviews of non-food items, since it is difficult to demonstrate how to combine them with other items in the Sainsbury's Basics range to get something practical in everyday life (like you would when you put ingredients together to form dinner).

However, as I'm away on holiday, I need to outsource some of my evaluations of Sainsbury's Basics products to somewhere in Asia. As this is the first time I'm perusing their services, I've started them off with a simple review, with no cooking or food preparation involved, and the shampoo and conditioner were sent to them for evaluation, as it presented an excellent test case to see how well they would fare.

The outsourced reviewer was not as thrilled as my colleague was after trying the products. He told me that the shampoo was thin and left his hair dry and brittle after washing. The conditioner fared little better, although he did note that it did take away some of the dry feeling he felt. He hence recommends that the Sainsbury's Basics hair products should be avoided at all cost, and if they must be used, that the shampoo and conditioner be used together, to minimise the impact to hair.

In the meantime I am encouraged by the output from the outsourcee and have promised him that I will send more interesting products and an assignment that will involve making something soon.

DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
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