Sunday, 22 November 2015

Confiserie Firenze Appel Strudel

Price: 89p(!!!)

Score (out of 5): 3 1/2

Review: ahh that German staple of Apfel Strudel. We've traveled quite a bit in Germany and Austria, which probably explains most of my devotion to Lidl. I've also tried a lot of (quite variable) apple strudel. 

As such a Germanic tradition, if Lidl couldn't manage a decent apple strudel, you'd be concerned. This falls squarely into the "Lidl frozen food that isn't amazing, but is quite good and you'd happily serve it to friends." As the Germans might say "Alles in Ordnung" when it comes to Lidl Apfel Strudel. 

It's not too sweet, has a load of apple and sultana filling, a nice little bit of cinnamon spice and crispy light pastry. I was cooking it while watching Strictly so I was a little bit worried about leaving it in the oven while a dance was being performed and accidentally burning it. Therefore I think ours was slightly undercooked, so the pastry still had a buttery flavour to it. I think if I'd left it in for five minutes more (vierzig minuten, not fünf und drießig minuten, the upper range of the instructions) then it would have been cooked to perfection. 

A sprinkle of icing sugar over it afterwards made it look wonderful.

And if you're wondering if I speak German after the post, I had to check with my partner what 30 and 40 were and I'm sorted if I ever go to a fancy dress party in Germany dressed as a rabbit as I can also say "Ich bin ein Kaninchen". Other than that, I know nothing.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Formil Biological Washing Liquid 3L

Price: free (for viewers in Scotland, for a limited period)

Score (out of five): 4

Recently in Scotland, Lidl have been running a promotion where customers get a wee bonus for shopping there, some money off when you spend £x amount or a free item. One week it was this product.

We’ve been a washing powder family for many years, Persil bio usually. I’m naturally clumsy so there is usually a trail of powder from the massive vat of it under the sink to the machine, and in all of the wrong parts of the dispensing drawer. Lidl bestowed on us a huge bottle of this washing liquid, which we lumbered home with, having decided to nip in for a few bits whilst out with our toddler in his pram but leaving with a week’s worth of deli meats, fourteen plant pots and an electric blanket. [editor's note: a similar tale resulted in a similar acquisition of 3L of Formil Biological Washing Liquid.]

After resting up to recover from the carrying back of the beast, I was most taken aback to discover that you don’t have to put the liquid into a ball like in the 1990s and in fact it goes straight into the machine dispenser once you flip a flippy thing. (This might just be our washing machine.) It cleans your clothes and for clumsy feckers like me it is easier to transition gloop compared to powder from washing substance container to machine. So this may be more of a Lidl changed my life, or at least my washing habits, kind of review.

It’s a lurid green colour but if used with the “summer breeze” Lenor fabric conditioner that is currently making an appearance on Lidl’s washing products shelves you get a delightful lemon and lime effect in your dispenser, which is enough to brighten anyone’s day.

I’d be willing to buy it in future.

[Editor's note: we were forced to use this for a Saturday's worth of washing after we ran out of Ariel Excel Gel. I loved it. It smells exactly like you'd imagine clean linen to smell if something was called "clean linen". However, this strong, homely, heart-warming smell is exactly why we won't be buying it in future - alas the smell is too strong for my partner].

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The blind tasting - Kania Tomato Ketchup

So, I'm branching out in my style of blog reviews and having a go at a blind tasting. My long suffering partner who's been subject to all sorts because of this blog (horrible hummus, mockery for buying a blender, force fed marzipan chocolate bars, etc.) came home to dinner one night to be faced with a blind taste - two ramekins of tomato ketchup to taste. I did my absolute utmost to now sway the results. I'm a policy analyst, I know how to run an RCT (and, no, pendants, I'm not willing to double-blind them!).

I've been accused of being sponsored by Lidl because so many of the reviews on here are positive, but I swear this is the god's honest truth as to what happened. Honest. Believe me.

Yes, my partner thought that the Kania ketchup was Heinz tomato ketchup. Specifically because it had a thicker texture and a richer red colour and he preferred the flavour, initially. I actually preferred it to the Heinz myself. Alas, brand loyalty has won on this one, so I've been forced back to buying Heinz, but I keep a look out for it sold cheaper in Lidl, so I don't have to spend half-an-hour being confused by the pricing in Tesco to try and get the best deal. 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Jam doughnuts

There was a doughnut here for a few minutes
Price: 19p

Score (out of five): 5

Review: as I've blogged about before, the bakery section in Lidl is generally ok, but not necessarily brilliant. Their croissants have improved a lot lately. I'll review their mini pizzas soon. 

But, I have a problem reviewing their jam doughnuts. Getting a photo is a bit tricky as they don't seem to last long enough - as you'll see.

Now, Scotland has a bit of a reputation when it comes to doughnuts. And it's not an enviable one. But I think people should be queuing up outside Lidl to buy these doughnuts. Imagine biting into a light fluffy pillow, covered with sugar with a jam that actually tastes of fruit. That's basically a Lidl doughnut. 

Eat them. Eat all of them. Apart from the ones I eat before you get there. 

Sourdough white bloomer

Price: 99p

Score (out of five): 3

Review: like most middle class people I whooped with joy when my local Lidl installed an in-store bakery. In fact it was when I started shopping there regularly.

The baked products however have been a bit hit-and-miss. This bread is definitely this. Positive points are: really nice crusty crust and it has a really nice nutty flavour coming through from the sourdough mix. However, like a lot of the baked products from my local Lidl it's a bit doughy and undercooked. Our only local supermarket used to be a big Coop (Scotmid) and it was really bad for undercooked bread. This isn't literally dough in the middle, but it does look like it could do with a bit longer in the oven.

If you toast it, and put butter and jam on it, then it is very nice indeed. I'd be disappointed if I took it on a middle class picnic though.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Silver Crest Hand Blender Set

Price: £14.99

Score (out of five): 4 now 5

Review: we had a very good quality Moulinex version of this. We used the small food processor bit quite a lot as it was easier to clean than the large food processor we have. But alas the plastic clip at the top of the blades that plugs into the lid to make it spin broke, so that had to be disposed of.

And then one Thursday our Lidl Random Crap Aisle™ was stocked with these. Alas, I didn't have enough arms/bags to buy one so I sent my partner off to get one, which is a whole other story to be published soon. 

So, it works. Not much more to add really. Slightly disappointing the whisk attachment only has one whisk, and the plastic feels a bit brittle and plasticy. But, it blends. It dealt find with some quite tough lamb. When I blitzed a very nice beetroot and dill soup with it you could really feel the power of the motor pulling it down to the bottom of the pan. It's dishwasher safe with the wonderful W5 Dishwasher Tablets. The key thing, I suppose, will be how long it lasts and whether it can do things like mince cooked meat. I shall let you know. 

Update a month later: I've not used this a bit more and it's actually brilliant. The brittle plasticky feel is because it's actually really strong plastic and also it locks together really securely and satisfyingly. It has absolutely no problems cutting really tough cooked beef and actually found it easier than our large Kenwood mixer. Another win from Lidl.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Deluxe Cornish Camembert

Price: £1.69

Score (out of five): I'm giving this a Spinal Tap 6.

Review: reader, I married it. Well, I would've done if I was allowed to eat cheese. Excuse me while I deliriously eulogise about this Camembert.



Sorry, my usual objectiveness has left me. But, bloody hell, this is good cheese. I presume it's called a Camembert because it's made in the same way, but it's actually just an incredibly rich, flavoursome British soft cheese. I'm imagine a blue version would be like what Lymeswold was like. So, yes, I can heartily recommend adding this to your middle class cheese board at a dinner party. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Simply Sumptuous Granola

Price: £1.79

Score (out of five): 4 (fruit and nut); 5 (fruit)

Review: well, as I've written here before, the thing I like about Lidl, unlike Tesco, is they rarely confuse you, or make you feel short-changed by having special offers (apart from the occasionally reduced price), but here I'm offering you a BOGOF.

The Lidl granola was a review I'd been promised by a friend for months but they'd never got round to it*. When we got back from our recent holiday I took my partner and we did our first proper big shop entirely (just about) at Lidl. He was after something new for breakfast so I suggested this granola as my friend had mentioned it was very nice. Eventually my branflakes ran out (thank god) so I got to try the fruit and nut. It was so nice I bought the fruit one to try as well. 

And they're both very nice indeed. I prefer the fruit one myself. Granola is always one of those breakfast cereals that makes you feel like you've used more calories chewing the stuff than you get from it and the extra sweetness of the fruit granola makes up for that. But, like all granola it leaves you with that slightly smug feeling that you've worked for your breakfast and it's tasty. I've not checked the nutrition information, but it's therefore probably laced with added sugar. Hey-ho. 

As well as having it with milk, it's also very nice with the Lidl yoghurt - they now sell more one litre pots of flavoured yoghurts. I can recommend the Scatiatelli (or scratch-your-telly as I call it) and passionfruit and peach.  

* Jenny, I'm still waiting for those reviews of the perfume and mascara. There's a limit to what a man can review...

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Crownfield Bran Flakes

Price: 45p (reduced)

Score (out of five): 0.5

Review: oh reader, the things I do for you. There's no photo with this post, even though I did actually go back and buy a second pack of these branflakes just to take a photo even though I really didn't like them. Alas, I forgot before the pack was finished.

I've eaten bran flakes for my breakfast for quite a few years after getting sick of dried coconut and raisins in fruit and fibre. I've become quite the expert in the various supermarket own-brands as it always seemed a tad pointless forking out for Kellogg's bran flakes when they essentially have three ingredients. I'd eventually settled on Tesco Everyday Value (89p for 750g).

I thought I'd give Lidl's brand a whirl. Oh deary me. The flakes become mush very quickly after you pour on the milk and they are far too sweet. After the first spoon it's a bit like eating over-sugared Weetabix mush combined with Ready Brek. Really not a pleasant texture or flavour. After the second packet I was just about getting used to them. You might like this texture/flavour combo (I can imagine they'd be a good way to get kids to eat a vaguely healthy cereal) but it's definitely not for me. Sorry, Lidl, on this one Tesco beat you.

However, after coming back from holiday, I've discovered Lidl granola.

Review coming up! 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Sancerre Rose

Price: £7.99

Score (out of five): 5

Review: well, the fact that the photo includes two empty bottles of the stuff should be testimony enough to the fact this is very nice wine indeed. Funnily enough it was a bit of marketing genius by Lidl that got me writing this blog in the first place. Their "Wine Cellar" had appeared in our local store quite a while ago, but after getting my fingers severely burnt with their wine in the past (a bottle of red that was so unpalatable even by the end of necking the bottle in one night it still made me gag) I tread wearily through said section of fake wine boxes. But then they included a brochure, with reviews and scores in The Observer so like a dutiful Guardian reader I trotted down with my brochure in hand and stocked-up.

And, my, did we like the Sancerre Rose. When it came back in this summer's wine cellar brochure I was back there like a shot. Now, I know bugger all about wine apart from how to describe it like Jilly Goolden. But I know I usually loathe roses for being sickly sweet. This rose is a very light colour and in the setting sun it just glows golden. I've not noticed the nose because I neck it too fast, I'm afraid, but if it's well chilled, it's crisp and complex, like a very good dry white wine but with a little bit more richness from the grape skins. Basically, exactly as I'd like a rose to be. The only problem with it is rationing it.

Oh, and previously I've done a gushing review on here of the W5 All-in-1 Dishwasher tablets. The two wine glasses are identical - bought in the same six pack of cheap Bohemian Crystal glasses from TK-Maxx. The one on the right was dishwashed with Finish. The one on the left has only ever been dishwashed with Lidl W5 All-in-1 tablets. Need I say more?

Friday, 3 April 2015

Rowanfield Hot Cross Buns

Price: 75p

Score (out of five): 2 1/2

Review: at this time of year I do like a bit of hot cross bun with my butter, as you'll see. Hot cross buns are a funny one - I've spent a small fortune on "finest" or "extra special" ones and been mightily disappointed that they are just over-spiced and over-sweet. What I'm looking for in a hot cross bun is a light, fluffy texture, a good amount of fruit evenly spread, and a good kick of spice. When toasted they should have a nice crispy outside too.

So, how do Lidl's compare? I'm afraid not very well. They were a bit doughy and not light and fluffy enough. The spice was there, but did not have that kick that leaves you smacking your lips. And unfortunately when toasted they don't get that crispiness, they're just a bit wangy.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Cien - sensitive handwash

Price: 59p

Score (out of five): 5

Review: to say I'm brand loyal with my toiletries would be the understatement of the decade (literally). Since the age of 17 my beauty regime has consisted of Herbal Essences for Dry Hair, Sanex bodywash and Clean and Clear face scrub. I tried an own-brand shower gel once and got eczema. 

But handwash, well you don't use it very often. Again, well done Lidl - it's really good. Most importantly, it smells bloody lovely. It's marketed as sensitive, and I don't have very sensitive skin, but it is slightly sensitive. I reckon the perfume would mean this would cause very sensitive skin to flare up, but generally it's ok with me. 

And check out my first action shot on the blog!

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Deluxe Beef Bourguignon Pies

Price: £2.49

Score (out of five): 4

Review: I happily bought these after we enjoyed the Chicken and Chorizo Pies and they also came recommended from a friend.

Just like the chicken pies, the pastry was excellent, with no soggy bottoms in sight. The filling was very meaty, probably more so than the chicken pies, with a very rich gravy. There was definitely enough filling to go with the gravy, so you didn't end up with mouthfuls of dry pastry at the end to eat.

The only issue is, I don't know what made it a beef bourguignon? The gravy had a vague taste of red wine to it, but basically it was just a really nice beef pie, and definitely worth £2.49. I served them with mash, purple sprouting, and the Valentine's wine I'd bought.

And this little bit of my kitchen is getting so much attention from this blog that it's now demanding a rider.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Chef Select Chili Con Carne

Price: £1.59 (I think - I didn't keep the receipt)

Score (out of five): 5

Review: I will be honest, it was with trepidation that I picked up my first Lidl chilled ready meal. I'm now used to the fact that their frozen food will vary from ok, to excellent, but ready meals can be done so, so very badly. Chilies are usually done spectacularly badly. Quite often they're bizarrely sweet and just not spicy enough if at all.

I think the photo says it all. I was very hungry when it came to eating it after coming home late after a pretty hardcore swimming session, but it was really nice. It was extremely meaty and clearly made with some good quality mince, and it was really spicy and in a nice way. They were not timid with their chili at all. 

The only bad points, and I won't mark them down for either of them, was the rice did end up being a solid block, but once I'd mixed the chili into it, it was fine. And also, it could've actually have done with being bulked out with a few more red kidney beans. But, I'm definitely buying this again. Might even get some to keep in the freezer. 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

What Lidl get right and Tesco seem to get very wrong...

If you'd not guessed from this blog already, I have become slightly obsessive in my comparisons between supermarkets. If you read the business pages of the newspapers, you'll realise I'm not the only one - it seems the British have stopped being brand loyal and price competition is key. This is why Lidl and Aldi are doing so well and the "Big Four" are doing so poorly.

In my spare time I do like to do a bit of armchair retail punditry, so to break up the reviews of Lidl products, I thought I'd offer some of my thoughts. 

It took me a while to become a Lidl shopper. I got my fingers burnt when they still imported a lot of their stock from Germany. My flatmate and I used to jokingly call all their products "zwolf minuten" pizza/lasagna/chips etc. as everything seemed to take zwolf minuten to cook. Our other local supermarket was a big Scotmid that was spectacularly bad at stock control (leading to the hilarious evening meal of avocado and mini sausage rolls one night). Then I lived next a Waitrose for a few years. When I moved back to Leith, Scotmid was still open, and we'd shop there or drive to ASDA, Tesco or Sainsbury's. Then Scotmid sold their store to Tesco and I got my clubcard and was sold, happily brand loyal, for a while. 

I'd pop into Lidl every now and then for their Thursday random shite, and occasionally pick up other things and be impressed with the quality. But what really turned me into a Lidl shopper was just a raging frustration with Tesco. This came to a head when I went to Tesco and had orange juice and Ariel washing liquid on the shopping list. The orange juice was £1.50 a litre, or three for £3. I put three in my basket. The Ariel was BOGOF. At this point I just stared at the price sticker on the shelf thinking "am I actually strong enough to carry five litres of liquid home?" At that point I thought, no, sorry Tesco, I want one litre of orange juice for £1. In fact, no I want 1.5 litres of orange juice for 98p from Lidl. I want my Ariel to be half price, not BOGOF. I don't want to buy three litres of the bloody stuff to carry home with me.

This confusion over prices is widely recognised by retail analysts as being what's driving away Tesco shoppers. And it is bloody annoying. You also regularly see them doing stupid things and cannabalising their own sales through their special offers - not as obvious as the pricing errors that make buying two cheaper than buying one, but subtle ways where if you think about it, because of their daft endless special offers, they must be reducing their own profits. 

Another Tesco thing that is now just annoying is Clubcard. The vouchers we get are absolutely pointless as they'll only give you money off things they don't make much profit on and these are invariably the things you rarely buy. The daft one we always get is 60p off the Guardian or the Observer, when we're subscribers so we pay using a pre-paid voucher so we'll never use it. But basically, I don't want to have to remember to use vouchers, I just want my shopping to be cheap. And the "price promise" vouchers - yeah, thanks for reminding me I could get cheaper shopping elsewhere. Similarly, I wanted to use some Clubcard vouchers to buy a Hudl from Tesco online. I thought the option to cash in the vouchers would come up when I got to the checkout as it would be automatically linked through. No. I had to log in to my Clubcard account, get the voucher codes, go back to Tesco online and cash them. I gave up in the end. Tesco lost an impulse sale of £150. My bad mood, not helped by a cold, was astounding. 

What I increasingly find unbelievable is how poorly Tesco use Clubcard. When they started it it made Tesco the killer company they became throughout the 90s - every little did help as they knew their customers more than anyone else. Comparing them to companies such as Google and Facebook now, they seem utterly clueless about their customers. If I were Tesco I wouldn't be selling the Clubcard bit of the business but investing billions in IT and turning it into something like a Google account - a full on knowing membership. Yes, shopping habits are changing, but I still bet the vast majority of Tesco shoppers do the same shop week-in, week-out. Your Clubcard should be linked to an app on your phone, or a check-in point in the store, that produces your weekly shopping list. This should be linked to their EPOS and stock-control system to maximise the savings (those damned coupons) that you could make that week and offer you live offers. These could flash up on the till at the checkout - offering you, say, 10p off orange juice now, or 30p off if you buy two litres on your next shop. Self-service checkouts could be linked to your account and remember that you always pay by card, defaulting to that option when you press the button to pay. At the most basic, the EPOS and Clubcard system should be able to tell that I pay for my newspaper every week with a voucher, and thus not send me coupons I can never use. 

I like Lidl because it's simple. I can trust it will be cheap, though it is occasionally undercut by Tesco on the price of branded goods. But I don't have to stand there in Lidl doing mental arithmetic to work out if it's cheaper for me to buy 700g of tomato ketchup, or 910g. Tesco should be able to do my shopping for me with their Clubcard data. Instead it's a confusing, frustrating, expensive experience. If they don't sort this out, then Clubcard will go the way of Green Shield stamps.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

A Lidl Valentines Present

Price: wine £25.99; rose bush £3.99; card 99p

Score (out of five): 5

Review: my wonderful partner is currently busying himself in the kitchen making a cheese souffle for our dinner. Because he is so wonderful I thought I'd attempt to treat him to a Lidl Valentine's day.

I went in the Sunday before Valentine's day I spied the cards and was quite surprised how non-awful they were, so picked the one pictured, which did the job in a suitably non-gender specific way. It even had bits stuck on, which usually bumps the price of cards up to £3+ at most shops.

On the Thursday before Valentine's day I went back in to pick up the rest, even though I'd seen the big signs advertising flowers and gifts due in on Friday 13th. Even so, I managed to pick up a living red rose bush for £3.99 in a very nice bag, and one of the bottle of the Haute-Medoc they're selling, the second most expensive wine in stock. When the £28 bill came up at the till the checkout operator double-checked as she couldn't believe I'd spent that much, and then she informed me that the only other person buying that wine was the store manager. The wine was really nice - we had it with Lidl beef bourguignon pies (review coming up). Definitely worth the investment and it would be one I'd happily bring along to a very posh dinner party.

So, all in all, a Lidl Valentine's day worked very well indeed.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Nixe tuna salads (rice and Mediterranean)

Tuna salad with rice
Price: £1.59 (currently two for £3, which I do not approve of)

Score (out of five): 4 1/2 (rice); 2 1/2 (Mediterranean)

Review: these were one of those utterly random Lidl buys. I was picking up some John West salmon and noticed these next to them, so I thought I'd give the rice salad a whirl for lunch.

Mediterranean style
And wow. I was amazed. Really big meaty chunks of tuna; well cooked rice; and the combination of peppers, olives and sweetcorn worked really well. From 220g you also get 21g of protein, so with a thick slice of bread, it was enough to keep me feeling full until dinner time. And, if you're active and on a high protein diet like me, they're an ideal low-carb, low-GI, high protein lunch.

The Mediterranean one less so. As you can see, it resembles cat food. Luckily it doesn't taste like cat food, but it's no way near as good as the rice one. I don't like pasta cooked in this sort of way - it's a bit like eating rubber worms. Also, the tomato sauce that it's in is a lot like the stuff you get covering tinned sardines. Not ideal. 

But, the tuna one's were so good, I've bought a pile of them and they'll now be my lunch quite often. Very nice indeed. They've also made me brave enough to give the Nixe tinned tuna a try. Once my John West runs out, I'll buy some of that and let you know what it's like. 

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Deluxe Beef Wellington

Sorry, sorry, sorry - I've been very remiss in keeping this blog going. However, I have been stuffing my face with Lidl products, as well as testing things my guest bloggers recommended - the three fish roast is delicious, and the baby wipes are ideal for cleaning the chain on my racing bike after a ride. But, now it's time for me to blog again. So here goes...

Price: £6.99

Score (out of 5): 3 1/2

Review: this is part of our slow exploration of the Deluxe frozen range. We still have the beef bourguinon pies to go. To not beat about the bush, these were nice, but a mixed bag. They come with a pork and red wine and mushroom jus (top-tip - take it out of the bag to heat it in the microwave). The jus is flavoured with dried thyme, and combined with the incredibly strong umami flavours of the mushrooms, it just hopelessly overpowers everything else on the plate.

Which is a shame, as the wellingtons themselves were worth the price - very good pastry, with a solid hunk of very good quality meat, and the pate to make them even richer. So, I've marked them down for the jus, but I would probably buy them again and just go a bit easy with it. 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Deluxe Chicken and Chorizo Pies

Price: £2.49

Score (out of 5): 4

Review: well, this blog became the talking point of Christmas parties and at most of these I discovered I am not alone in being a middle class lover of Lidl. The Deluxe frozen range came widely recommended, so I've invested in all the meals that were mentioned by various friends. First up, the chicken and chorizo pie.

When I looked at the box for this and noticed that the chicken was from either Brazil or Thailand I was not hopeful. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The chicken did not have a bizarre texture or taste, but the least I know about its journey from a farm to my plate, the better, I suspect. The chorizo was a bit of a lurid red colour. But the creamy sauce that blended them all together was very tasty indeed.

The pastry was an absolute revelation - very crispy and short, not a soggy bottom in sight, and very easy to slip the pies out of their foil trays for nice presentation. My only comment on how they could be made better would be if they just had a bit more chicken in them. Otherwise, definitely get these in your freezer. With mash and veg, you've a very good meal on your plate in 40 minutes. 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Deluxe Three Fish Roast

Apologies folks, this blog's been a little dormant in the New Year. Let's just say the return to work has been a bit of a shock to the system. But, everyone wants a treat for a dark, cold January, especially with all the storms and snow we've been having. So for the next few weeks we'll be reviewing the Lidl Deluxe range.

First off, we have my old friend from school and uni, Joelle McNichol reviewing the Three Fish Roast. I'm very impressed it has it's own Facebook page!

Price: £5.99

Score (out of 5): 4.5

Review: I've been on the look out for completely effort free meals, so this frozen ready meal seemed worth a punt. Stick it in the oven and forget about it for an hour or so, steam a bit of frozen veg, et voila, dinner.

I was not optimistic as ready made fish pies are often just fishy slop. But the packet reassured me with a list of ingredients I might actually find in my kitchen, and three types of MSC certified fish giving details of where each was caught. In googling to check the price for the review, I find this pie has its very own Facebook community, sharing information about when and where it is available and urging Lidl to keep it in stock. Apparently some people feel very strongly about it.

Could this be as good as my home made and frozen fish pie?

The USP is that the fish comes in a rectangular block made of layers of cod, salmon and smoked haddock, like a fishy neopolitan ice cream. This is surrounded by a creamy cheesy sauce, and topped with a crunchy breadcrumb, cheese and fried onion topping. It doesn't claim to be a pie, but it so is.

On serving, it did lose some points for presentation, especially as I hadn't anticipated the central fishy block so my first serving was a confusingly fish free sauce slop. But in fact the layered up fish has a real advantage over the more usual chunks of fish in sauce as it gives structure and substance to the dish. Instead of a pie slop, you have a nice fish fillet with a crispy top and a cheesy sauce on the side.

Taste wise I thought it was very tasty. Creamy and comforting as fish pie should be, but with the distinct flavours of the different fish coming through, and the crunchy topping was really good.

Would I buy this again? Yes indeed, but not with people round.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Fragrance Free Baby Wipes

A New Year and a new set of Lidl reviews. And what a better way to start the New Year than with a rather fantastically well-written review of baby wipes by Emma Bolger - thanks Emma! These baby wipes sound like the perfect thing for your spring clean, even if you don't have a baby. Guest reviews always welcome here on A Lidl Bit of Middle Class Pleasure just get in touch.

Price: £0.79 for 80 wipes

Score (out of five): 4.5

Review: The problem with baby wipes is that there is no consistency between retailers and because you buy the things every time you go shopping they all merge into one ineffectual wipe. At entry level there is the barely-resealable, barely-damp wipe. Mid-range offers a few more square inches but no guarantee of packet-long moistness and the most expensive are something akin to a Chanel-doused Egyptian cotton flannel and likely take 2,000,000 years to biodegrade in landfill. You pay extra for a bit of plastic around the opening and it invariably falls off after three wipes have been removed. But a good baby wipe can clean anything: babies, wellies, cars, soft furnishings, doorknobs–the list is endless.

A critical nappy incident when our home was inexplicably wipe-less led to a desperate scramble to the nearest open shop. It was then that a discovery was made: Lidl baby wipes do what they are supposed to do!

Not only do they cope with a poop explosion, one–just one!–wipe is enough to clean a baby’s face, hands and the remnants of dinner off a highchair tray. The surface area is generous. The wipes are damp to start with and stay sufficiently damp for the duration of the job. The sticky seal is large enough to cover the opening thus resealing the packet adequately. They feel nice.

Also, given my son’s fondness for pulling out as many as he can from the packet when my back is turned and chewing on them, these seem to be one of the tastier varieties of baby wipe on the market.

Guest post by @bolger_emma -

/edit by Peter - I can also recommend these baby wipes for wiping down your bike after a ride.