Review of Lidl Mince Pies

On a recent trip to Lidl I found myself in their Christmas section. Now, if I’m honest I didn’t expect to find anything suitable for a dairy free diet. I was proved wrong as their own brand mince pies were indeed dairy free. There was only one thing for it accidentally place them in my shopping basket to try later on as a sweet treat.

I liked the simplicity of the white and gold colour of the packaging. To front of the packaging is a picture of the mince pies pies, one of which is open with the mincemeat cascading out. I just wanted to dive in and give them a try. Onto the ingredients list wheat, sodium metabisulphite, sulphur dioxide are barley are highlighted as allergens. There is also a may contain warning for nuts.

On opening the packaging I was greeted by an aroma that I associate with apple pies. I thought that this was little strange as they were mince pies. This did not change on my famous close up sniff test. I was the therefore a little confused as to what I was about to eat. The mince pies are a good size. To the top you have a slightly crunchy burnt 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. I always check this as I don’t like a soggy bottom. So this was a positive.

On biting into the mince pie I got a slight crunch from the pastry followed by crumbliness then a slight doughiness as I reached the bottom of the pie. To be honest I would rather have a soggy bottom rather than the doughiness that I experienced. Onto the filling there was a good quantity of mincemeat coated in what I would describe as a slightly seasoned syrup. The mincemeat filling was slightly crunchy and worked well with the syrup. Sadly the flavour of the mincemeat filling was quiet bland. The only real flavour that I could distinguish was apple. The other flavours from the rest of the fruit and mixed spice just seemed to be lacking. It was not really the mincemeat flavour that I had hoped for.

So would I recommend these Lidl mince pies if you follow a dairy free diet? I am afraid not I just didn’t enjoy anything about these mince pies from their aroma through to the flavour and texture. Sorry Lidl but these mince pies just weren’t for me.

DIY Daddy
ethannevelyn.com

Review of Alpro Unroasted & Unsweetened Almond Milk

Well my mission to try some new dairy free milks has not been that successful. So I am trying really hard to find some new dairy free milks to try. One of my favourite milks is almond as I like it’s fairly neutral flavour and that it’s low in calories. So when I saw my regular almond milk was out of stock I decided to try Alpro’s unroasted and unsweetened almond milk instead.

I liked both the colour and design of the packaging. It’s cream background with almonds with the milk cascading outside. Onto the ingredients list with 2.1% almonds noted. The almond is clearly highlighted in bold as an allergen. There is a may contain warning for nuts. The milk is labelled as being milk free, gluten free and suitable for vegans.

On opening the carton there was a subtle marzipan like aroma to the milk. I’m personally not keen on milks that have a sweet artificial aroma but I was intrigued by this aroma. It poured easily into a glass it was cream/faint green in colour. It was slightly runny and wasn’t really creamy in consistency. On sipping the milk it was slightly smooth but not creamy in texture. There was a pleasant faint but subtle marzipan flavour to this milk. That said it didn’t taste artificially sweet compared to other brands that I have previously tried. 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 marzipan like aroma intensified slightly. It was absorbed easily by the Weetabix. On tasting the Weetabix the milk impacted on its flavour. This may sound a little strange but the Weetabix tasted a little like an almond based cake. The subtleness of the flavour was spot on and it added a great flavour to my Weetabix. It made for an enjoyable breakfast.

So would I recommend this almond milk? Yes I would. I liked everything about this milk from its aroma through to its flavour. So if you follow a dairy free, gluten free or a vegan diet why not give this almond milk a try. So thank you Alpro for producing an almond milk that I can enjoy.

DIY Daddy
ethannevelyn.com
Le Coin de Mel

Review of Chocologic Free From Christmas Chocolate Lollies

This year I decided that I should make it my mission to start my Christmas reviews early. So when I discovered that Tesco’s had launched their Christmas free from range I had to pop in store and find out more. Sadly, a lot of the section was already out of stock. However, there was chocolate and I love chocolate so I decided to grab some to try. The first festive chocolate I decided to try was Chocologic free from lollies.

I personally liked the packaging, simple clear cellophane which means you can tell exactly what you are going to eat. To the back is a white label with the ingredients list. It is clearly labelled as being dairy free and suitable for a vegan diet. Onto the ingredients list with regards to allergens soya is highlighted. There is a may contain warning for peanuts and nuts.


On opening the packaging I was immediately greeted by a subtle aroma of sweetness that I associate with free from the chocolate. I was looking forward to trying this chocolate Santa. The actual chocolate is made up of one piece which was impossible to break into pieces. On biting into the chocolate my taste buds were first hit by the sweetness from the chocolate. Onto the chocolates texture. The chocolate was slightly hard to initially bite into. This soon became smooth in texture and melted slightly in the mouth. I ate this chocolate in one sitting and confess to licking the stick it was on to make sure that nothing was left behind.

So would I recommend this chocolate Santa? Yes I would It is a great value festive chocolate with the right balance of flavour and texture. So if you like chocolate and follow a dairy free, gluten free and or vegan diet give this festive treat try. So thank you Chocologic for producing festive chocolate that I can enjoy.

DIY Daddy
ethannevelyn.com
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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.

DIY Daddy
ethannevelyn.com
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Review of Marks & Spencer Lemon & S-Lime Popcorn

Whilst on a day out shopping at Bluewater my mum and we decided to pop into Marks & Spencer food hall to pick up some Halloween treats. I spotted a few packets of Halloween popcorn and decided to have a quick look just in case I could have it. To my utter surprise it was clearly labelled as being gluten free and suitable for vegans on the front of the packaging. It was therefore suitable for dairy free me so I just grabbed a packet to take home to try.

I loved the bright orange packaging of this popcorn with the popcorn looking like they were popping out of cauldron. I also liked the clever marketing of the popcorn’s name calling it s-lime instead of lime. Onto the ingredients list soya is highlighted in bold as an allergen in the ingredients list. It is labelled as not being suitable for nut and peanut allergy suffers due to the manufacturing process.

On opening the bag I was greeted by a slightly artificially sweet lemon aroma. I did my usual close sniff up test and this didn’t change. On closer inspection inside the bag the popcorn looked like popcorn with intermittent pieces having a slightly green colour. On biting into the popcorn I got a subtle taste of lemon the strength of this was spot on. This was intermingled with pieces of lime coated popcorn which actually turned out to be sharp and slightly sour. This was a surprise and worked really well with the lemon flavouring.The texture of the popcorn was just right. I experienced a combination of textures the softness from the lemon popcorn and the slight crunchiness from the lime pieces.

So would I recommend this Halloween themed popcorn? Gosh yes I would. It may not be the healthiest popcorn I have had, but who cares it just nice to have a sweet treat to enjoy at Halloween. I liked everything about this popcorn from its packaging, through to its flavour and textures. So if you follow a dairy free, gluten free or a vegan diet why not give this popcorn a try as a Halloween treat. So thank you Marks & Spencer for producing a nice packet of popcorn I can enjoy.

DIY Daddy
ethannevelyn.com
Le Coin de Mel

Review of Tesco’s Free From Chocolate Gateau

Being dairy free I never thought that it would be possible to eat a chocolate gateau that you could simply pick up from a local supermarket. So when I heard that Tesco’s free from range new chocolate gateaux was both gluten free and dairy free I got a little excited. My mission was then to find one to try. This was easier said then done as they always seemed to be sold out and my dedicated freezer space remained empty. Finally after several trips to various Tesco’s I managed to find one. I eagerly placed it in my basket to take home and save it until the weekend for a treat.

Onto the packaging of the gateau it was in the usual colour and style that you get with Tesco’s free from range. There is a large picture of the gateau to the front which looks highly inviting. It is clearly labelled as being gluten free, wheat free and milk free. It is also suitable for a vegetarian diet. Onto the ingredients list egg and soya are highlighted as allergens. There is also a may contain warning for peanuts and nuts.

On opening the box greeted by a fairly sweet faint chocolate aroma which intensified on my close up sniff test. On removing the gateau from the box I was a little disappointed as some of the topping had stuck to the top of the box. This meant that the swirly peak design to part of the gateaux was a little flat. It should be noted that I had transported the gateaux home safely in an upright position. The other piece of criticism I have around the packaging is that the circular plastic that holds the gateau in place is a good idea. The only downside as the the cream to the gateau is like mousse in consistency it meant that this stayed on the inside of the plastic and not on the gateau. This resulted in having bald edges to the gateau. On a positive note it did allow you to see all of the layers to the gateaux. Now the gateau itself serves 6 people is I planed to cut it up into smaller servings so that I could have it as individual treats. Sadly, this was not possible. Despite my best attempts with a good knife and lots of will power I was not able to cut out a piece of gateau to serve one person. This meant that I had 24 hours to eat a whole gateaux.

But how did the gateau taste? On biting into the gateau I was immediately struck by the varying three consistencies to the gateau. Initially you get the light airy slightly whipped texture from the mousse from the outside and top of the gateau. This is followed by the chocolate sponge underneath which was a little dry in consistency and slightly prone to crumbling. These layers were repeated throughout the gateau. Amongst this you get a hint just the right amount of what is described as a chocolate sauce which is a bit like a jam in consistency. This combined with the mousse helps balance a bit of they dryness out from the sponge. Onto the flavour this was nice but not as nice as I had personally hoped. The mousse was slightly artificially sweet in flavour but worked well with the slight bitter chocolate flavour from the sponge. The the richness from the intermittent hidden chocolate sauce just gave it that little bit extra rich indulgent flavour without it being too strong and overpowering.

So would I recommend this free from chocolate gateau? I am afraid not. The packaging design impacted on the presentation of the gateau. The chocolate sponge was a little to dry and crumbly even when combined with the mousse and chocolate sauce. Perhaps you make think that I am being a little harsh on Tesco’s or unfair. But when you have waited so long to have a chocolate gateau maybe your expectations are high. I hope that maybe Tesco’s will see my review and take some of my criticisms onboard. Because at the end of the day I think that it is great that you now have the option to be able to easily purchase a dairy free gateau at the supermarket.

DIY Daddy
ethannevelyn.com
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Review of English Tea Shop Earl Grey Tea

I am a girl who loves my cups of earl grey tea. It is my tea of choice and I am always on the lookout for new teas to try. So when I received an English Tea gift box full of a variety of teas I just had to try the earl grey tea first.

I liked the colour of the deep blue packaging with a picture of a teapot with tea leaves and citrus fruit on it and coming out of the spout. Onto the ingredients list organic and fair trade Ceylon black tea (95%), natural flavourings (5%) are listed. No allergens are highlighted and there is no may contain warning. On a personal note I wish the natural flavouring was in more detail.


On opening the package there was an aroma of black tea with bergamot intermingled with this. This didn’t change on my close up sniff test. I was a little disappointed by this as I had expected the bergamot to be stronger. I placed my teabag in my teacup and added the freshly boiled hot water to let the tea infuse with the hot water for the recommended brewing time. The tea infused with the hot water and turned to a medium brown colour. But what about the aroma? It predominantly smelt like a nice Ceylon black tea with only a hint of the tantalizing bergamot noted a little disappointing if I’m honest. On my close up sniff test the bergamot intensified a little but not much. On sipping the tea it tasted like a reasonable quality Ceylon black tea with only a very faint hint of bergamot noted. On a positive note it was light and refreshing and worked well milk free. It might also be suited to those who like a weak strength earl grey tea.

So would I recommend this earl grey tea? I’m afraid not. Yes it was a light and refreshing tea Ceylon black tea that just seemed to lacking the bergamot aroma or flavour. I was a little disappointed by this tea. I have tried nicer earl grey teas. Sorry English Tea Shop but this earl grey tea just wasn’t for me.

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