Things have been busy. I passed my probation at work, which is nice, so here is some of the stuff I’ve been spending my money on:
As part of my mission to hunt down the most convenient and least space-consuming equivalent of a bento box, I acquired these. Enormously useful: one helping of yogurt will fit into the second-largest pot a little TOO exactly. So far so good: easy to clean, easy to transport, leakproof, easy to dismantle.
Roll-up silicone bottle with clip and retainer. So far okay. It doesn’t retain fizz in carbonated drinks and imparts a slightly weird taste, and has leaked a couple of times presumably due to the weight of liquid pulling the bottle out of the closure ring: I have yet to test claims that it is a) microwaveable, b) flame-resistant, c) great as a cold or hot compress, d) good for waterproofing electronics. I would be more confident doing that had the aforementioned leaking not occurred. On the plus side, it rolls up when empty to take up almost no space and the 400ml one, which I have, fits in a pocket in that state.
A massive disappointment. It might very well be a great, waterproof way of transporting your food which packs down small and doesn’t let things get crushed. I wouldn’t know. I haven’t been able to get the strap around the to to remain closed over the fold when there is anything inside it whatsoever, thus rendering it pretty much useless.
I have Quadline Street Skates, as mentioned in this brief update, and I am increasingly pleased with them as I get better at using them. The suspension leads to a weird noise, and they do take some getting used to, particularly if you’re used to skates with a toe stop; but so far they’ve been durable, comfortable, not too hard to get the hang of, and easy to put on and remove. Sooner or later I plan on using them to get to and from the station on my way to work, but that’s definitely going to have to wait until I’ve figured out hill stops and am not so stymied by uneven paving slabs.
The answer to my perennial and evolving question: how can I make drinks taste better without consuming any extra calories? Elderflower and sucralose added to sparkling water gives me elderflower presse as sweet or not-sweet as I want it and is pleasantly portable; the range of coffee flavours works just as well in tea or hot chocolate. The coffee flavours come with a pipette; the entire business fits into a tiny kitchen drawer and causes no further bother. Exactly what I was looking for.
Lekue? Yes, I’m sorry, I’m middle-class and occasionally that fact refuses to remain as discreetly hidden as it ought. We shall not dwell upon what horrors I have acquired in the tiny kitchen my flat is equipped with, but this is not the only Lekue item I own.
It isn’t bad: the primary use so far as been to marinade fish, which could be easily achieved in a bowl, I suppose. Also to cook fish after marinading them in, in the microwave, for which it is very convenient. I rather hear it’s good for freezing things as well, giving rise to the possibility of removing something from the freezer, defrosting it, and cooking it (and probably eating it) all from the same silicone bag. Not so bad.
I’d already tried their savoury snacks – the sweetcorn and pea, the peapod and red pepper, and found them a conscience-salving alternative to crisps, even if the sweetporn and pea packs were somewhat difficult to eat at times. Freeze-dried vegetables are all very well, but freeze-dried fruit struck me as a lightweight way to satisfy a sweet craving and potentially just story fruit until I was ready to eat it.
I was right about that: this is delicious, weighs less than a bag of crisps, and in combination with a GoStak section full of yogurt and a couple of hours in the fridge at work the fruit rehydrates as if fresh and I have a tasty, healthy snack. Strongly recommended. I shall report back on the beetroot and parsnip chips when I have the opportunity to try them.
I discovered recently that the name for the stuff these are made out of is “fruit leather”, which is a wildly unappetising term for what is in fact a wholly delicious substance. It basically tastes of highly concentrated fruit, because that it what it’s made of, and has a chewy, tacky texture. It comes in rolls – like the old-style liquorice “Catherine Wheels”, and keeps me both entertained and fed on 2-mile walk back to the station at around 6am after work. Frankly, I could ask for little more, but apparently one packet also constitutes one of your 5-a-day and frankly I could very easily eat five packets a day of these.
Easy to resize, easy to put on, fun to look at, FLASHING LIGHTS. Downside: they are going to take a lot of practice to get used to – heel skating is something I have no experience with and unlike conventional skates there is no axle give so you can’t really steer by throwing your weight around.
Obviously as someone who loves throwing their weight around, this presents rather a challenge!
I love pasta. Loved pasta, I should say, since I basically never get to eat it now except in witheringly tiny quantities. It’s a staple food for a lot of reasons and one of those is that it imparts a lot of energy, which is great if you’re working in a field all day and less great if you a sedentary PR monkey who spends their life either swearing at the news or finding new ways to avoid movement. EatWater doesn’t sound like a very appetising brand and when I first tipped these out of a packet I’d bought from Holland & Barrett my initial response was “slugs”.
However. They cut down on the cooking time of ordinary pasta-and-sauce significantly, and mean that I can have a much more tasty sauce than I would ordinarily be able to (pro-tip: add a Knorr stock pot to pasta sauce while you’re cooking it), and when thoroughly cooked in the sauce – well, the texture isn’t too dissimilar to well-cooked pasta. Granted, I prefer pasta more al dente, but I liked it enough to buy another five packets.
Other products I should be able to review soon include the Tube Vault, the Charge Card, and maybe even the DL58 bluetooth printer if I can ever get the stupid thing to cooperate with any of my devices. If you’ve a strong desire to see me review something in particular and help me out at the same time my Amazon wishlist is here and here and here. If you have products you’d like me to review (in more depth) then get in contact at [myname]@gmail.com