Review of Lovemore gluten free spiced pear pies

On a recent visit to Morrisons to check out their new range of free from food section I discovered that there was a good variety of dairy free foods to choose from. This was especially true with regards to sweet treats. I discovered a packet of Lovemore spiced pear pies. I have tried a few of Lovemore products and have been suitably impressed so I decided to give them a try.

I liked the simplicity to front of the packaging with its light brown and bright colour scheme. To the bottom of the box are pictures of the pear pies showing the filling inside I just wanted to dive in and give them a try. Onto the ingredients the pies are clearly labelled as a free from product and are both gluten free and milk free. They are also suitable for a vegetarian diet. Therefore perfect for dairy free me. Egg is highlighted as an allergen in the ingredients list. It is highlighted that they are made in a factory which handles nuts.

On opening the packaging I was greeted by an aroma that I associate with fruit pies. This did not change on my famous close up sniff test. It was nothing special if I’m honest. I was hoping for a spicy fruity aroma maybe I am being a tad harsh. The pear pies are of a good size. To the top you have a slightly crunchy looking short crust pastry topped with a little dusting of sugar. This becomes thinner towards the bottom. On checking underneath no soggy bottom was noted. This got an immediate thumbs up from me as I don’t like a soggy bottom.

On biting into the pear pie I got a slight crunch followed by crumbliness from the pastry. Onto the filling this is a combination of pear pieces coated in what I would describe as a lightly seasoned winter syrup. The pear was crunchy and worked perfectly with the gluppy winter syrup. The flavour of the filling was delicious. It was slightly sweet from the syrup but this was nicely complimented by the all spice flavouring. As for its quantity this spot on anymore would have resulted in a soggy pie. I couldn’t believe just how nice these pies were.

So would I recommend these spiced pear pies if you follow a dairy free and or gluten free diet? Yes I would it is great to have an alternative to an apple pie. I liked everything about these pies from their flavour through to their texture. So thank you Lovemore for producing a delicious pear pie that I can enjoy.

Review of Oatly Vanilla Custard

When I like many others who follow a dairy free diet heard that Oatly were launching some new products in the UK I was a little excited. When I discovered that one of these was vanilla custard I just couldn’t wait to give it a try. So I no doubt like many others with a food allergy popped along to Tesco’s on the week that it was launched. I managed to grab one of the last cartons and took it home to try.
img_0164
I liked the simple of the packaging. It is in the same design that you get with Oatly products. Onto the ingredients list oat is clearly highlighted as an allergen. Underneath the ingredients the custard is labelled as being lactose free and free of milk protein and soya. It is also suitable for a vegan diet.
img_0165
On opening the custard a faint subtle of vanilla was noted. The aroma remained the same on my close up sniff test. I personally liked this as it wasn’t artificially strong. It’s colour was a pale cream/ yellow colour. On pouring the custard into the bowl it was thick in consistency similar to that of Valsoia cream. This surprised me it mentions about being able to whip it on the carton but I expected it to be thinner. Maybe because that it is what I am used to having with ye old Alpro custard.
img_0166
I added my custard to a bowl and placed sliced bananas on top. What struck me was that its thick consistency remained and the weight of the banana didn’t impact this. On having a mouthful of the custard what struck me was the lovely thick creamy texture. It felt slightly luxurious. Onto the flavour yes I could taste the vanilla but this was subtle and not to strong or overpowering. It’s flavour and texture complimented the banana perfectly. In summary it was delicious.
img_0167
So would I recommend this custard if you follow a dairy free, soya free and or vegan diet? Oh my goodness yes. I liked everything about this custard from its aroma, flavour and texture. In fact I would go as far as to say that this is the nicest custard I have had. This is now going to be my custard of choice. I can’t wait to use it in a trifle. So thank you Oatly for producing a delicious custard that I can enjoy.

Review of Tesco’s honey oaty granola bars

Ok so I am a creature of habit when it comes to my mid morning snack. I tend to have Nature Valley cereal bars. I like their flavours, and find them to be filling. I have tried various other snacks but I just can’t beat my favourite cereal bars. So when I popped into Tesco’s and discovered that they did their own version of my beloved cereal bars I just had to give them a try.
image
I have to confess to not being drawn in by the packaging I found it a tad dull and inviting. Perhaps this is why I have missed them previously. I checked the ingredients list they were indeed suitable for my dairy free diet. The only allergen highlighted was wheat. Oh and they are also suitable for a vegetarian diet.
image
On opening the box I was greeted by 6 packets of cereal bars in a similar design to the packaging. Inside you get 2 cereal bars. I was expecting a slightly sweet aroma but all I got was an oaty aroma. The 2 bars were the same size and you could clearly see the oats in the bar. On biting into the cereal bar a mixture of textures were noted. Initially a nice hard crunch was noted. They were also a little crumbly but not so much that you lost part of the bar. But then in parts there were hard pieces which were hard to bite into, not so good. Into the flavour, they didn’t really taste like other granola bars I had tried. They just tasted of oats. Pretty bland really. Then my taste buds got hit with salt. Not very pleasant or what I expected. I had a few more packets and experienced the same. Not what you expect from a granola bar.
image
image
So would I recommend these granola bars definitely not. They did not taste like a granola bar should, and I didn’t expect to taste salt. The texture was hit and miss and no good if you don’t have strong teeth. So if you follow a dairy free or vegetarian diet, I suggest you try an alternative granola bar. Sorry Tesco’s but these cereal bars just weren’t for me.

Review of Fabulous Free From Factory Dairy Free Chocovered Crunchee Bites

I have been a fan for a long time of Fabulous Free From Factory chocolate raisins. I try and kid myself that they are healthy as they are fruit coated in just a little chocolate. At The Allergy & Free From Show in London I popped along to their stall to stock up on their chocolate raisins. They kindly gave me a packet of their new dairy free chocovered crunchee bites to try and review on my blog.
image
I liked the simple packaging which is similar to their chocolate raisins. They are clearly labelled as being dairy free, gluten free and suitable for a vegan diet. On the ingredients list soya is highlighted as an allergen. There is a may contain warning for nuts.
image
image
On opening the packet I greeted by a sweet aroma. This was stronger than I had anticipated. It was predominately honeycomb with a hint of chocolate. Inside there were small pieces of what looked like mini chocolate treats. These were easy to pick up and surprisingly the chocolate didn’t really melt on my fingers. On biting into the chocolate I got hit by the immediate sweetness of the honeycomb inside. This was followed by the slight bitterness from the chocolate. As for the texture of these treats it consisted of three components. The initial crunch from the honeycomb which then went very soft and gooey surrounded by the smoothness from the chocolate that encased the honeycomb. All three components worked really well together. I only needed a few of these as they were a little too sweet and sickly for my personal taste. If I am honest I much preferred the chocolate raisins. That said my other half tried them and really enjoyed them and said that they were like a sweet mini crunchy. In fact he finished of the packet before I could take a picture of the crunchee bites.

So would I recommend these crunchees if you follows dairy free, gluten free or vegan diet ? Yes I would. It is nice to have a crunchy style treat to try. Just be aware that they are very sweet, so you only need a few. This will mean that the packet will last longer.

Disclaimer: I received a free sample of this product to review. All of my opinions in this review are honest and impartial.

Review of beond organic apple cinnamon bar

Now I’m a girl who likes her mid morning snack. I have tried a few alternatives to my old favourite Nature Valley bars but I still seem to have these by default. So I am making a real effort to try alternative snack bars. So when I stumbled across beond snack bars and discovered that they did an apple and cinnamon flavour I decided to give it a try.
image
I was drawn to the deep brown packaging and the small green apple to the front of the packaging. On the edge of the packaging and in white writing the snack bar is clearly labelled as being raw, vegan, dairy free, gluten free and paleo. On the ingredients list the only allergen highlighted is cashews. There is no may contain warning.
image
On opening the packet I was expecting something similar to the recent snack bars that I have tried ie: like the Nakd, or Rude Health snack bars. It was indeed similar. It was dark with small chunks of apple within the bar. There was a subtle sweet aroma from the dates with hint of cinnamon intermingled within this. I would personally describe as something similar to that of an apple cereal bar with a bit of date thrown in for luck. It’s texture was slightly sticky to the outside and a little gooey to touch. On biting into the bar I got a combination textures which worked really well together. It was soft and slightly gooey intermingled with a slightly crunchy tough element from the apples. As for the flavour the apple element was spot on not too strong or overpowering. The intermittent hit of cinnamon broke this up nicely. The dates and fruit juices added a slightly sweet element intermingled with this. I loved every element of this snack bar from the flavours through to the textures. All worked perfectly together.
image
So would I recommend this snack, yes I would. It made a refreshing change to have a bar that differs in consistency to those that are like Nakd bars. I enjoyed everything about this bar especially the chunks of apple. So if you are dairy free like me, follow a gluten free, soya free, paleo or vegan diet give these a try. They make a nice filling sweet treat and have made my mid morning snack list. So thanks beond for producing a nice snack bar that I can enjoy.

Review of Valsoia Cream

This summer I have had the opportunity to try a couple of new dairy free creams, all of which I have enjoyed. So when I stumbled across a new vegan cream from Valsoia on Ocado I just had to give it a try. It is a soya cream that is marketed as being like whipping cream and is made in Italy.
image
I liked the simplicity of the packaging with a picture of whipped cream with a strawberry balance on top. It certainly looked very appealing, I just hoped that the cream would end up looking like something in the picture. Although the cream is made in Italy and imported I found the labelling to be user friendly as an English label was placed on top of the original packaging. On the ingredients list soya was in bold as an allergen and there was no may contain warning. It is labelled as being both dairy and gluten free diet.
image
Although it is a UHT cream I placed it the fridge as recommended so that I could try it chilled with my strawberries. On opening the carton I was expecting a slight creamy aroma what I experienced was an aroma similar to that of dairy free vanilla ice cream. On pouring the cream into the bowl it had a much thicker consistency compared to other creams that I previously tried. At this point I have to confess to being very excited and poured it into little peaks in my bowl. Oh I forgot about the colour, this was a medium cream in colour. On tasting the cream it was completely different to other creams that I have tried. It tasted just like it’s aroma like a dairy free vanilla ice cream, it was rich and very delicious. In fact I struggled to eat the quantity I had put in my bowl. I also tried it was both strawberries and raspberries it was truly delicious.
image
image
So would I recommend this Valoisa cream, yes definitely. I have found a whipping cream that I can have and enjoy. Next time I will use it sparingly as it is quiet rich. My only complaint is that its consistency didn’t maintain on the day after opening the carton. Yes it still had a whipped consistency but this was no where near as impressive. So if you follow a dairy free, gluten free or a vegan diet then why not give this cream a try. So thank you Valosia for producing a nice dairy free cream that I can enjoy.

The Allergy & Free From Show London

image
After much anticipation the weekend of the Allergy and Free From Show had finally arrived. Sadly, due to a change of plans I visited on the last day. Being that it was the fourth year of visiting this had one disadvantage several stands can be sold out. So planning which stands to visit first was key. We arrived late this year so there was no big queue to get inside. Our first stop was one of the cafes to grab a nice cup of tea. We looked through the brochure to find out where the stands were that I wanted visit. This proved to be a tad difficult as there was no map inside the brochure just a list with stand numbers.
image
As we were a little later than normal the show was heaving. I patiently had to wait to fight my way through the crowds to find the relevant stands. My first stop was Lovemore foods. They sell gluten free biscuits and cakes, some are also dairy free. I stocked up on their biscuits. Sadly, the cakes had sold out.
image
Next I popped over to Delicious Alchemy to stock up on their chocolate brownie mixture. They have a range of cake mixes all of which are gluten free. I love them as they are quick and easy way to make a delicious cake. You simply add egg and use dairy free spread instead of butter.
image
It’s great to be spoilt for choice for cakes to buy. This year I decided to treat myself to cakes and cookies from Ms Cupcake. All were vegan with some being gluten free. I opted for a choc orange cookie and a banana and cinnamon cupcake which was also gluten free.
image
I popped along to meet Caroline at Biteappy. She set up her app two years ago and is in the process of ensuring that the majority restaurant menus are available online. You can then see what is safe to eat. I also meet Lyndsay from Living with CPMA. Lyndsay’s blog is a great resource for dairy free me, with up to date foods that I can have and recipes to try.
image
Despite eating lots of delicious samples all the walking made me hungry. I need a puts top to refuel. So I took advantage of Venice Bakery’s stand and ordered one of their pizzas. Just delicious if you are dairy free, gluten free, vegan I recommend you try their pizza bases. They are the nicest free from bases I have personally tried.
image
No trip to the show is not complete without chocolate. I topped by chocolate supply with Cocoa Libre. Their chocolate is dairy, gluten and nut free. They had sold a lot of goodies by the time I had arrived, so I opted for their cute owls and penguins.
image
I personally think that it is highly important you support small independent businesses sometimes it’s just quick and easy to pop into a local supermarket. So I popped by all three stands Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s. Firstly Sainsbury’s all I can say is very disappointing. I asked if they had any new milk free products and if they were going to consider selling more savoury treats. I got advised that they could not answer this and to send an email for this information. Very poor, I expected at least some information after all it is a specialist allergy show. I did sample one of their new ginger cookies which are dairy and gluten free. I didn’t even finish it. It was fresh out of the packet but was rock hard, dry in texture and lacked flavour. I’m glad it was a free to try.
image
Next Asda, they had an exciting choice of new cakes. You’ve guessed it gluten free only 😡. Come on Asda please consider people with other food allergies / intolerances when developing new products. There was a quick tomato pasta dish marketed as gluten free, but was also dairy free but not labelled as being so. I asked about what savoury dishes they had that were dairy free. To be fair the assistants were very helpful and showed me packets of their spicy bean bakes and chicken fajita crisp bakes. Both were marketed as gluten free but not dairy free even though they were which they said they had asked to be reviewed. So another disappointing supermarket stand.
image
Finally Tesco’s I had a nice long chat with the guys on this stand. They were knowledgable about their products. There was a good selection of goodies to try. To be fair I had tried these in research for my blog of course 😊. I have to admit to being a tad excited my their new free from cheese flavour nachos. They are gluten and dairy free. Yes they are bright orange/ yellow but hey it’s a junk food treat I can enjoy. I never thought I could have cheese nachos. My only request again is please produce some dairy free cakes.
image
In summary I had a fantastic day at the show. I met some lovely new people and discovered several new companies with some great foods to enjoy in the future. I also picked up products that I normally buy at bargain prices to take home. Yet again I came home with far too many bags filled with goodies. I can’t wait until next July to visit again.