Review of Lidl Bats & Webs Barbecue Snacks

With Halloween fast approaching I found myself in Lidl looking at their special buys section. Next to this I spotted a display of Halloween themed savoury snacks. I spotted a packet which was barbecue flavour and decided to grab a packet to take home to try.

I liked the simple orange packaging with a picture of a bat to the centre and a spider on a web to the bottom left of the front of the packet. In addition to this there is an accurate picture of the snacks inside and the phrase terrifyingly tasty to the top right corner. Onto the ingredients list no allergens are highlighted. No allergens are highlighted on the ingredients list and there is a may contain warning for gluten.

On opening the packet I was greeted by a fairly weak barbecue aroma. This aroma did not change on my famous close up sniff test. The snacks were of a varying sizzle and in the shape of webs and bats. They didn’t have an obvious scattering of the barbecue flavouring on them. On biting into the chips was a nice clean crunch was noted. The barbecue flavouring wasn’t scattered eveningly across the snacks and as a result it was hit and miss on the flavour front. After trying a few snacks there was a powdery residual left on my fingers from the flavouring. A little disappointing as the flavouring on the snacks were a little hit and miss in the first place. So loosing more of this may have impacted on the strength of the flavour which wasn’t that strong in the first place.

So would I recommend these barbecue snacks, no I wouldn’t. I liked the festive style of this savoury snack and enjoyed their crunchy texture. But their lack of flavour and powdery residual just outweighed this. So if you follow a dairy free, or a vegan diet I would give this Halloween treat a miss. Sorry Lidl but this festive savoury treat just wasn’t for me.

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Review of Tesco’s Free From Garlic Baguette

Now I am bit partial to garlic bread and frequently make my own. It is often impossible to find ready made garlic bread which is dairy free. So when I heard that Tesco’s had just launched a free from garlic baguette as part their new free from range I had to investigate further. To be honest I didn’t hold up much hope as free from generally means gluten free with other food allergens included if you are lucky. To my surprise it was indeed suitable for me.

I liked the packaging as it is the same style as the rest of the products in their new updated free from range. I liked the pictures of the inviting pieces of garlic baguette on the front. I hoped that mine would look like this when cooked. The front of the packaging it is clearly labelled as being egg, gluten, milk and wheat free. On the back it is labelled as being suitable for vegans. Onto the ingredients list, there are no allergens highlighted and there is no may contain warning.

On opening the packet I was immediately hit by a pleasant aroma of garlic with a hint of mixed herbs. This did not change on my famous close up sniff test. I placed the baguette in the oven and cooked the baguette as instructed. Once cooked the aroma of the garlic intensified and seemed to mask the smell of the mixed herbs. I tore the baguette into a couple of sections and undertook my close up sniff test. At this point I was able to smell a faint undertone of the mixed herbs intermingled with the garlic. I couldn’t wait to dive into this baguette. It looked liked a regular garlic baguette nice and crunchy to the outside and light and fluffy inside. On biting into the baguette it was indeed crunchy on the outside and had a lighter fluffy texture inside followed by the slight moistness from the margarine. The texture was perfect, it was just like eating a regular garlic baguette. So a massive thumbs up to Tesco’s because I certainly wouldn’t have been able to tell that it was gluten free. Onto the flavour this the garlic element was definitely the prominent flavour without being too strong. This intermingled with a hint of mixed herbs made for a delicious garlic baguette.

So would I recommend this free from baguette? Yes I certainly would. I was especially surprised by the baguettes texture it was just like a regular garlic baguette. As for the flavour this was also spot on. I will no doubt be having many more of these baguettes in the future. So if you follow a dairy free, gluten free, and or a vegan diet give this garlic baguette a try. I’m sure that you will be pleasantly surprised. So thank you Tesco’s for producing a delicious garlic baguette that I can enjoy.

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Review of co-op Tomato Ketchup

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 to make an emergency dash to the co-op to get our regular Heinz ketchup I was a little surprised to see that it was out of stock. The only alternative was co-op own tomato brand ketchup. As we were having fish and chips for tea I just grabbed a packet to have with our dinner.

Onto the packaging. It comes in a 470g sized plastic bottle that I now associate with most tomato ketchups. You can clearly see the sauce inside if I’m honest I didn’t think much to the design of the label on the front of the bottle. There is a picture of a burger with the wording great with a burger. The ketchup is clearly labelled as being vegan. On a positive note the traffic light system is very clear as is the fact that there is an allergen update. Onto the ingredients the ingredients list wheat is clearly highlighted as an allergen. There is a no may contain warning.

On opening the bottle I got a nice aroma of tomatoes, the slightly sweet aroma that I associate with ketchup was less distinct. Instead a slightly more tomatoey aroma was noted. This remained the same on my famous close up sniff test. I squeezed the sauce out of the bottle it was slightly smoother and thicker in consistency than what I expected. Some ketchups that I have tried can separate slightly but this was not the case, so this got a big thumbs up from me. I tried the ketchup as an accompaniment to a variety of meals as a crafty dip. It had a nice tomatoey taste with a slight sweetness noted. I also used the ketchup as addition to tomato based sauces it worked really well and the reduced sweetness added a slightly different flavour to the dishes. I have to admit to being surprised by this tomato ketchup. I really enjoyed it and would happily have it instead of our regular Heinz tomato ketchup.

So would I recommend this tomato ketchup? Yes I would. I enjoyed the aroma, consistency and flavour of this ketchup. It works well as a dip and as part of sauces when cooking. So if follow a dairy free or vegan diet why not give this ketchup a try. So thank you co-op for producing a nice tomato ketchup that I can enjoy.

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Review of Lidl Unsweetened Soya Milk

Well my mission to try some new dairy free milks has not been that successful. One of my favourite milks is soya only mainly because I personally find it easier to cook with. So when I saw that Lidl had their own unsweetened soya milk with their regular fresh milk I just had to give it a try.

I personally liked the packaging design with the red colouring to the top with the picture of milk being poured into a glass. The ingredients list is on the back of the carton with water, hulled soya beans, calcium phosphates, maltodextrin, stabilizer, gellan gum, natural flavouring noted. I’m intrigued to know what the natural flavouring is. The soya is clearly highlighted in bold as an allergen. There is no may contain warning. The milk is labelled as being dairy free and suitable for vegans.

On opening the carton I noted a slight nuttiness aroma to the milk. It poured easily into a glass and was the typical cream colour you get with soya milk. It was slightly thick in consistency but not creamy. On sipping the milk it was smooth in texture and tasted a little nutty very similar to other brands of soya milk I have previously tried. I 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. It was absorbed easily by the weetabix. On tasting the Weetabix it tasted just as a Weetabix should the milk did not impact on its flavour. For me personally this is a big plus because a couple of milks that I have previously tried have made my Weetabix have a slight artificial sweet flavour.

So would I recommend this soya milk? Yes I would. The slightly nutty aroma and flavour was spot on. It wasn’t artificially sweet in flavour and had a nice consistency. So if you follow a dairy free or a vegan diet why not give this soya milk a try. So thank you Lidl for producing a soya milk that I can enjoy.

Our First Family Free From Buffet

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.

Review of Smoky Bacon Popchips Ridges

I quickly popped into Waitrose to grab a few essentials. Somehow I found myself drawn to their crisps aisle. Most flavoured crisps are not an option for a dairy free diet. I saw a new band of snacks called Popchips ridges that caught my attention. I noticed that were labelled as gluten free and some were also vegan. I saw a bacon flavour and decided to give them a try.

I liked the simple black packaging with hints of purple. The picture of bacon to the left and popchip ridges made me want to dive straight in. Onto the ingredients list there are no allergens highlighted on the ingredients list and there is no may contain warning. They are labelled as being gluten free and suitable for a vegan diet.

On opening the packet I was greeted by a an aroma that I associate with barbecue crisps not the aroma of bacon that I was expecting. This did not change on my famous close up sniff test. What did strike me was that the bottom of the packaging had a powdery residual, a little off-putting if I’m honest. The popchips ridges themselves were of a good size and had a good scattering of flavouring on them. However, they looked like mini rice cakes. On picking the up the popchips ridges they left a slight powdery residual on my fingers. Not very nice. On biting into the popchips ridges a nice light crunch was noted, just like eating a rice cake. As for the flavour well if I am honest was a little disappointing it wasn’t bacon more like barbecue.

So would I recommend this snack if you follow a dairy free, gluten free, or a vegan diet? No, I wouldn’t. Their flavour and powdery residual just let them down. Sorry popchip ridges but I have tried much nicer snacks that are an alternative to crisps they just were not for me.

Review of Free From Festival London

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 Continue reading