Having food allergies can suck sometimes. Growing up I remember having take all of my own food and drinks to parties. I secretly wished that I could try the food everyone else was eating but knew that it would make me poorly. My sister knew exactly how I felt and so when my nephew was recently diagnosed as being coeliac she didn’t want him to feel the same. So at our first family get together since his diagnosis my sister decided to have a totally free from buffet. This meant that everything was gluten free and that my nephew could eat everything. She also made a special effort for me making sure that there was several milk free options for me. To be fair I’m not sure who was more excited me or my nephew. Secretly I think it was me. If you’ve seen the very clever Morrison’s free from advert that was me just like me but as a grown up. My sister did a fantastic job visiting several supermarkets and food halls to get a great range of food that we could all enjoy. In fact there may have been a bit too much food. This was fine as it meant that we spent a lovely lazy afternoon at the dinner table trying a fantastic variety of foods and enjoying each others company. So a big thank you to my sister for a fantastic afternoon. It was a true delight to be able to watch the excitement and see my nephews face light up at the possibly of being able to try everything on the table. Oh and for spoiling me too.
The Free From Festival London is the UK’s first gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free food festival. It is a successful food festival which incorporates free from food and live music and makes for an enjoyable day out. The latest Free From Festival was based at Old Spitalfields Market London. It had a large array of dairy free, gluten free, paleo and vegan foods to try, with the odd tea company thrown in for luck. I have been very lucky to attend the previous festivals in my official capacity as a food and tea blogger. So when I was asked if I would like to have press tickets I of course graciously accepted. It was an amazing day out and I had the opportunity to try a range of fantastic foods and tea. So here is a snap shot of my day at the food festival.
What immediately struck me as I arrived was the size of the festival and how it had grown. I had to wait in a queue to get in. In fact the festival had proved to be that successful that it was old out and people were being turned away. I showed my press pass got my goody bag and tried to plan my day. At this stage I to confess to still being a state of surprise as too much it had expanded. So I took it all in did a bit of people watching and listened to the fab entertainment that was on offer. Here’s a snapshot of what I saw during the day.
My first stop was Eat Safe app to see Matt and his girlfriend. She is soya intolerant and has found this to be highly restrictive when eating out. So Matt helped devise the Eat Safe app as part of his masters degree. It is in its beta testing stages and will hopefully be available for all to try later this year. I’m sure that this app will prove to be very successful. Here’s a link to their website http://www.eatsafeapp.co.uk/ Continue reading
Well my mission to try some new dairy free milks has not been that successful. So I have been trying to make a real effort lately and try some new varieties of dairy free milk. So I headed onto Ocado and searched for dairy free milk. One milk that seemed to grab my attention was Rice Dream rice milk. Now I’ve never tried rice milk before so I decided to give it a try. I liked the blue and green colour to the packaging with a picture of milk cascading to the bottom.
The ingredients list is on the side of the carton with water, rice (14%), calcium, phosphate, stabilizer: gellan gum, sea salt vitamins D and B12 listed. There is no may contain warning. The milk is labelled as being dairy free, gluten free and suitable for vegans.
On opening the carton I was surprised that there was only a faint and subtle rice aroma to the milk. In fact it smelt pretty neutral and did not change on my famous close up sniff test. This was a little disappointing if I am honest as I expected this to be much stronger. It poured easily into a glass and was a light white colour. It was slightly thin and very watery in consistency. On sipping the milk it had a very similar texture to that of water. There was definitely a ricie element which was subtle but not to overpowering. The best way I can describe this is if you don’t quiet drain your rice properly and have a bit of the water on your plate it’s very similar to this with a little sweetness added. I also warmed the milk for 90 seconds in the microwave ready for my famous Weetabix test. It microwaved well and did not separate or form a skin to the top of the milk. Its aroma remained the same I had hoped that the aroma may intensify slightly, but this may be a tad unfair. The milk was absorbed easily by the Weetabix. In fact I needed a higher volume compared to other milks to try to get the Weetabix the way I like them. Sadly, this didn’t happen it was just like I had added water, which I have done previously when I have forgotten to take my milk to work. On tasting the Weetabix it didn’t impact on its flavour. I viewed this as a positive this may sound a little strange but a couple of milks that I have previously tried have made my Weetabix have an artificially slightly sweet flavour. I personally don’t like this and like to my Weetabix to be as plain as possible.
So would I recommend this rice milk? No I wouldn’t its thin consistency and the lack of flavour made it an unappealing milk. So if you follow a dairy free, gluten free or vegan diet perhaps give this milk a miss. Sorry Rice Dream but this really wasn’t to my liking.
I have to confess to being a lady who enjoys my tomato ketchup. It is one of my guilty pleasures in fact I have it with most of my meals. It is a safe dairy free food that I use a dip or as part my tomato based sauces. So when I had the opportunity to try Real Good Ketchup how could I say no. The fact that it contains 70% less sugar and salt is nut free, and is suitable for a vegan diet is a bonus.
Onto the packaging. It comes in a small sized clear plastic bottle that I would associate with most tomato ketchups. I was immediately drawn to the clever marketing that it has 70% less sugar as I have been trying unsuccessfully to reduce this recently. I also liked the juicy looking tomatoes I was immediately thinking of the taste of fresh tomatoes and wanted to dive in and give it a try. Onto the ingredients they are completely plant based no allergens are highlighted and there are no is no may contain warning. In fact is clearly labelled as being made in a nut free factory.
On opening the bottle I got a nice aroma of tomatoes, the slightly sweet aroma that I associate with ketchup was absent. Instead a slightly more mature tomato aroma was noted. This remained the same on my famous close up sniff test. I squeezed the sauce out of the bottle it was smooth but slightly runnier in consistency than what I expected. Oh, and yes I did give the bottle a good shake before giving a little squeeze. Perhaps I am being a little unfair I just expected to be a little thicker than the average ketchup because of its ingredients. I tried the ketchup as an accompanist to a variety of meals as a crafty dip. It had a rich tomato taste with a slight twang noted. The sweetness that I associate with ketchup was missing. I much preferred this to my regular ketchup. I also used the ketchup as addition to tomato based sauces. The stronger tomato flavour added a little extra to my sauces. In fact I didn’t need to use my tomato purée to my spaghetti bolognese or chilli.
So would I recommend this tomato ketchup? Yes I would. I really enjoyed the aroma and flavour of this ketchup. It works well as a dip and adds a nice tomato flavour to sauces when cooking. My only constructive criticism is the size of the product. It’s too small, when you are a bit of a ketchup monster like me it just doesn’t last long enough. So please can I put in a request for a larger size, I’m sure I wont be the only one with this request. So if you food food allergies, follow a vegan diet why not give this ketchup a try.
Disclaimer: I received a free sample of this product all the opinions in this post are honest and my own.