Many of our meals in lockdown are a game of Ready, Steady, Cook, when I look inside the kitchen pantry and fridge to decide what ingredients I can use to make a decent lunch or dinner. Receiving a food box with surprise ingredients is a cause of much excitement, as you get new products to work with.
Degustabox is a monthly food and drink subscription box. It's an excellent way of discovering new products which have only just appeared in the shops, or those which have been around a while but you haven't had a chance to try them yet.
Thanks to Degustabox, I have found new favourites to add to our shopping list, including some products which I probably wouldn't have tried otherwise.
Each time the monthly box arrives, its contents are a total surprise. You get a good selection of foods and drinks.
If you haven't tried Degustabox subscription box yet, and would like to have a go, I have a whopping £7 off discount from your first box (and you can unsubscribe any time), just use code 8EVI8 when you place an order.
What did we receive in UK vs International Degustabox?
Percy's Caramel Chocolate Shortberad Sticks (£3) are a delicious treat for anyone who enjoys the irresistible combination of chocolate and caramel. The buttery, melt-in-the-mouth shortbread sticks are coated in caramel milk chocolate and hand spun with dark chocolate to decorate.
Lovely with a cup of coffee or tea.
Available at Sainsbury's, Ocado and independent stores.
Brynmor Flapjack - Caramel Fudge/Apple & Raspberry (£1.29) - is lovingly baked in the heart of the Welsh countryside.
Brynmor's range of tasty nutritional flapjacks is available at Ocado, Waitrose, NISA, WHSmith Travel, Grapetree, independent health shops and at brynmorfoods.com.
Traditional 80g flapjacks offer reduced sugar and protein. As they say, their products offer something for everyone, and each comes with a variety of real health benefits. They are gluten free, wheat-free, vegan-friendly, contain no artificial flavours or colours, and are a good source of fibre.
There are two items in the box.
Terry's Chocolate Orange Easter Egg/Minis Popping Candy (£4) - the iconic Terry's chocolate orange presented as an Easter treat. The Minis Exploding Candy are classic milk chocolate segments, flavoured with real orange oil and packed full of fun popping candy pieces (4%).
Nutritional information: 17g of sugar and 145kcal per 7 segments.
Great for sharing with family and friends.
There are two items in the box.
Available in the major supermarket chains as part of Terry's Chocolate Orange Popping Candy Easter Egg pack.
Moving from sweet treats to savoury products:
Growers Garden fresh Broccoli crisps (£1.99) are believed to be the world's first crisps to be made with fresh broccoli. They are a healthier alternative to potato crisps.
We had first tried Broccoli crisps last October, when several flavour packs were delivered in the food box. I remember I wasn't very enthusiastic about them, though my Mum enjoyed them.
This time our elder son surprised me by eating all the broccoli crisps. He clearly liked them.
Grown on their own farm, Growers Garden are using the wonky veg to make a healthier snack.
Available in approximately 600 stores across the UK. Visit growers-garden.com/stockists for your nearest store.
Tilda Peri Peri Microwave Rice (£1.59) is the latest addition to the delicious range of international rice flavours from Tilda. Peri Peri is a taste sensation, combining bird's eye chilli heat with green and red peppers, sweet tomato, garlic, smoky paprika, oregano and a squeeze of lemon.
It is gluten free, suitable for vegetarians and vegans and contains to artificial flavourings, colours or preservatives.
Available in the major supermarket chains.
My personal favourites were two pastes from Very Lazy - Very Lazy Lemongrass Paste and Very Lazy Ginger Paste (£1.85 each). They are so handy to keep in the kitchen, and jazz up a variety of meals. 1tsp = half a stick of lemongrass or 1 thumb of ginger.
Available at Tesco.
For recipe ideas, visit verylazy.com
I cooked a simple cabbage dish, with an addition of a grated carrot and both pastes as a side dish, and it was so flavourful and vibrant. Add them to the grilled fish, curries, roast vegetables, soups and stews, the possibilities are endless.
Peppadew Sweet Piquante Peppers Mild Chopped (£3) are loved for their unique layered flavour, sweet and then mildly spicy, firm and crunchy texture and excellent quality.
It can be used as an ingredient (try it in a potato salad with mayo and spring onions), or as a topping for pizza, pasta, salads, wraps, sandwiches and burgers.
Visit the antipasti aisle at Tesco for Peppadew full range.
And finally the drinks:
Sxollie Cider Cripps Pink (£1.80) is a light refreshing drink. Sxollie Ciders are made exclusively from famous apples, the Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and the Pink Lady.
Apples are sourced directly from the Elgin Valley in South Africa where the apples are lovingly grown in the sunshine. The cider captures the essence of the fruit with its sweet and sharp notes.
Available at Sainsbury's, Waitrose and selected pubs and bars.
Remedy Kombuch Raspberry Lemonade 250ml/Cherry Plum 250ml (£1.85) is a healthy soft drink, made by naturally fermenting sweet tea with a live culture.
The result is a sparkling drink that contains live cultures, tea polyphenols, organic acids and no sugar, naturally.
Available at M&S, Morrisons, Amazon.co.uk, Holland & Barrett, Boots, Booths, WH Smith, Planet Organic, Whole Foods Market and many more.