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 co-op Green Tea

As a lady who enjoys her cups of tea on a daily basis I am always on the lookout for new teas to try. I have recently been trying a variety of green teas as it is a great tea to be enjoyed milk free so it is therefore perfect for dairy free me. As I was in my local co-op picking up a few essentials I thought that I should give their green tea a try.

I liked the simple design of the packaging with this tea. It was pale green with picture of cascading green tea leaves. Onto the ingredients well I found this a little strange as I couldn’t find one. To the front of the packet is labelled as fair trade green tea. As a result I could not see any allergens highlighted or any may contain warnings listed.

On opening the box I was greeted by a sealed foil package containing the teabags. I like this as it keeps the tea nice and fresh. On opening the package I was greeted by a subtle a faint aroma of a grassy meadow with very undertones of smokiness that I associate with green tea. This remained the same on my famous close up sniff test.

I placed the teabag in my teacup and added my slightly cooled freshly boiled hot water. I left the tea to infuse with the hot water as instructed. The hot water soon changed to a light green colour. The aroma from the tea intensified only slightly even on my close up sniff test. On sipping the tea I was able to taste the subtle grassiness with the smokiness element intermingled with this. This was slightly weaker compared to other green teas that I have tried. However, this resulted in a nice light and refreshing green tea.

So would I recommend this green tea, yes definitely. I liked the slightly weaker grassy and smoky aroma and flavour of this tea. So if you fancy a milk free tea, why not give this green tea a try. So thank you co-op for producing a nice light refreshing green tea.

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Review of co-op loved by us sweet popcorn

Now I have to confess to being a popcorn addict. It is often a safe dairy free treat for me to enjoy. I have had a bit of a sweet tooth lately. Whilst queueing at my local co-op I saw their loved by us sweet popcorn. So I grabbed a packet on the of chance that I could have it. This may sound bonkers but I knew that my other half would eat it if it was not safe for me.
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I loved the pink packaging of this popcorn with the popcorn looking like they were popping out of top of a box. On the front of the packaging it is clearly labelled as being suitable for vegans. On the ingredients list to the popcorn popped maize, sugar and sunflower oil are listed. There are no allergens highlighted in the ingredients list and there is no may contain warning.
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On opening the bag I was greeted by a slightly artificially sweet aroma. I did my usual close sniff up test and this didn’t change. On closer inspection inside the bag the popcorn looked like random pieces of the popcorn had a coating of sugar. On biting into the popcorn I immediately got a subtle taste of sugar the strength of this was spot on. It gave the popcorn a pleasant taste which wasn’t too sweet as not all the popcorn had a sweet coating. I personally think that if all of the popcorn had been coated it would have been to sickly. The texture of the popcorn was just right. I experienced a combination of textures, on the sugary pieces it was slightly hard and crunchy followed by the softness of the popcorn. This was intermingled with the slightly crunchy then soft texture that I expect to get from popcorn. This popcorn was a great to treat to eat whilst enjoying a film at home.
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So would I recommend this flavour of popcorn? Gosh yes I would. It may not be the healthiest popcorn I have had, but who cares it was nice to have a sweet treat to enjoy. I liked everything about this popcorn from its girlie pink packaging, through to its flavour and textures. So if you follow a dairy free or vegan diet why not give this popcorn a try as a sweet treat. So thank you co-op for producing a nice popcorn I can enjoy as a treat.

Review of co-op organic soya milk

Well my mission to try some new dairy free milks is proving a little harder than I expected. One of my favourite milks is soya only mainly because I personally find it easier to cook with. So when I spotted an organic soya milk in my local co-op I thought that I should give it a try. It is UHT and comes in a 1 lite carton. I personally found the packaging design to be a little unappealing. I assume it is meant to be representing a field but why there is a chicken on top of the word organic I’m not sure. Oh and one final criticism to this packaging I’ve yet to have a soya milk that is white. Sorry for moaning co-op.
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The ingredients list is on the back of the carton with water, soya beans and flavourings noted. I’m intrigued to know what the flavouring is. The soya is clearly highlighted in bold as an allergen. There is no may contain warning. To the front of the packaging the milk is labelled as being suitable for vegans.
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On opening the carton I was surprised that there was no nuttiness aroma to the milk. In fact it smelt pretty neutral, of nothing really. I viewed this as a positive. I’m personally not keen on milks that have a sweet artificial aroma. It poured easily into a glass and was the typical cream colour you get with soya milk. It was slightly thick and creamy in consistency. On sipping the milk it was smooth and slightly creamy in texture. There was a very faint nutty element to this milk I naively thought its flavour might have been a little more distinct being that it was an organic milk. That said I personally preferred this. It was nice to have a neutral tasting milk that didn’t taste artificially sweet like other brands that I have previously tried.
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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. It was absorbed easily by the weetabix. It did seem to impact on the texture of my Weetabix making it slightly smoother. This made a pleasant change and made it stand out from other soya milks that I have tried. On tasting the Weetabix it tasted just as a Weetabix should the milk did not impact on its flavour. This may sound a little strange but a couple of milks that I have previously tried have made my Weetabix have a slightly in sweet flavour. I personally don’t like this and if I have sweet tooth on a particular day I like to be able to choose to add a little sweetness to my Weetabix.

So would I recommend this soya milk, yes I would. It’s neutral flavour was spot and made a pleasant change to the other soya milks that I have tried. It wasn’t and artificially sweet and was nice and creamy and smooth. So if you follow a dairy free or vegan diet why not give this soya milk a try. So thank you co-op for producing a soya milk that I can enjoy.

Review of co-op streaky crispies

Whilst I was shopping in my local co-op the other day I found myself in their crisp aisle. I thought I would check their own brand of frazzle style crisps after discovering a couple of other brands that were dairy free. Sure enough I checked the ingredients list and they were indeed dairy free. There were no allergens highlighted in the ingredients list. They were labelled as being suitable for vegans. So of course I just had to give them a try. I liked the design of the design of the packaging. I liked the purple colour with the frazzles cascading down. Oh and I have to confess to falling for the picture of the pig under the umbrella.I wanted to just dive and give them a try.
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On opening the crisps there was a subtle aroma of bacon noted. This was not to strong or overpowering, but felt a tad artificial to me. On picking up a couple of crisps to try each crisp looked like a frazzle crisp. They were cream in colour with what I would describe as beetroot red coloured stripes. The crisps felt a little greasy to touch. On biting into the crisp a nice crunch was noted but this was followed by a powdery texture. Not what I really expected and a little disappointing. As for the flavouring this was consistent throughout the crisps which is was better than other frazzle style crisps that I have previously tried. They certainly tasted of bacon, although this was a little to artificial for me. After eating a few of these crisps I had a greasy and slightly powdery residual on my fingers. I found this to be a little off putting if I’m honest.
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So would I recommend these crisps sadly not. I really did not enjoy these crisps, they were a little to greasy for me and I just didn’t enjoy their texture. If you follow a dairy free and or vegan diet I recommend maybe trying a different packet of co-op own brand crisps instead. Sorry co-op but these crisps just were not for me which is a shame as I have enjoyed all of your other crisps that I have tried.

Review of Tyrrell’s Poshcorn Sea Salted Popcorn

Now I have to confess to being a popcorn addict as it makes a great alternative to a packet of crisps. It is also often a safe dairy free treat for me to enjoy. I have had a bit of a sweet tooth lately and have been enjoying a variety of sweet popcorns. So I decided I best find a new savoury popcorn to enjoy. Whilst in the queue at my local co-op I saw some Tyrrell’s Poshcorn in a couple of flavours. So I grabbed the sea salted flavour. I didn’t have time to check the ingredients but I knew that my other half would eat it if it was not safe for me. I decided to take it to work to have as a savoury mid morning snack.
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I liked the packaging of this popcorn from the light blue colouring with the popcorn looking like they were popping out of the bottom of the bag. On the back of the packaging it is clearly labelled as being gluten free and suitable for vegans. The ingredients listed are popped corn, sunflower oil and sea salt. There are no allergens highlighted in the ingredients list.
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On opening the bag I was greeted by the typical aroma of plain popcorn, sorry I find this a tad difficult to describe. Intermingled with this was a subtle aroma of salt. I did my usual close sniff up test and this didn’t change. On closer inspection inside the bag the popcorn looked like a simple plain popcorn there was no obvious coating of salt. This was a bonus for me personally as I had worried that I may find the popcorn fairly heavily coated in salt and this was not the case. On biting into the popcorn I immediately got a subtle taste of salt, the strength of this was spot on. It gave the popcorn a pleasant taste and stopped it from being plain and boring. As for the texture of this was a massive disappointment. There was no crunchiness noted, it was slightly soft as if it was stale. The popcorn packet was in date and sealed so I can’t blame this. I was unable to continue eating this popcorn and it went straight in the bin. My mid morning snack was not a success, luckily I had one of my Nature Valley cereal bars as a backup.
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So would I recommend this flavour of popcorn, I’m afraid not. I liked the subtle saltines flavour to this popcorn but its texture just simply let it down. Sorry Tyrrell’s but this popcorn just wasn’t for me. So my hunt now continues to find other savoury popcorn to try.

Euro 2016 England Game Barbecue

We always meet up with our friends and have fantastic barbecues for the England games during the European and World cup games. During the last world cup my other half decided it should be our turn to host the for the first England game. It was a great success so he decided to repeat the experience for this years Euros. This I have to confess was a great relief for me as despite being the hostess I didn’t have to worry about having to bringing my own food that is safe to eat. This may sound a tad ungrateful as my friends always try to cater for my dietary requirements. They are often surprised as to which foods contain both dairy and lactose. Foods like burgers, flavoured chicken and bread rolls are often not an option. My other half decided to take full control of our barbecue right from the food and drink through to the days entertainment. So I took a back seat and offered help as required. For the main meal it was a nice joint of beef from the local butchers. This was combined with new potatoes in olive oil and a tomato, cucumber and oregano salad. Simple, delicious and perfect for me to enjoy with our friends.
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Next was the dessert, trifle, cheesecake, and a lemon tart. Then was the after dinner cheeses with crackers, proper butter and onion chutney. Despite all of this food there was room for the obligatory after dinner chocolate mints. Sadly my other half forgot the dessert and cheese option for me. This was ok I made sure I had a large meal instead and had a crafty Walls Swedish Glace dairy free strawberry ice cream lolly.
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We had pizza for the mid game snack, a mix and match variety from Waitrose. This was accompanied with a variety of crisps, tortilla chips, nuts and sweets. This suited both the children and grown ups a like. But what about me ? My other half didn’t want me to feel left out, so he ordered me some chicken bites to have with salad. I have to confess to still being full by this point, so settled for a nice cup of earl grey tea and some Fox’s party rings. The game didn’t go in our favour, but hey it was great to spend it with friends.
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The following morning was all about bacon rolls, fruit juice and of course a nice cup of tea. This proved to be a big hit. I couldn’t have the rolls as they had a may contain milk warning but I had a naughty loaf of co-op white thick sliced bread to hand, so I didn’t miss out. We all enjoyed the food at our barbecue. It was easy to do one that suited my dietary requirements that everyone could enjoy. Sometimes simple options can be the best choice. Who knows if England do well, we may have may be doing another barbecue soon.