Nairn’s Astro Bites

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Ingredients – Wholegrain oats, Sustainable palm fruit oil, Rice crunchies, Demerara sugar, Currants, Cranberries, Partially inverted syrup, Tapioca starch, Raising agents (Ammonium bicarbonate, Sodium bicarbonate), Natural flavouring, Sea salt.

Rice crunchies: Rice flour, Sugar, Malted barley flour, Barley malt extract, salt, sunflower oil, Emulsifiers (Glycerol monostearate, Sunflower lecithin), Stabiliser: Calcium carbonate.

Currants: Currants, sunflower oil.

Cranberries: Cranberries, sugar, sunflower oil.

This is a good, child-friendly offering from Nairn’s.  The biscuits are space-theme shaped, and the box includes a free sticker.  Each box contains 5 mini bags, which makes these an ideal choice for packed lunches.

From an allergy point-of-view, I appreciated that the recipe avoided the use of two common allergens: egg and soya.  However, I think this is where Nairn’s have missed the opportunity to make a great product.  It would not have taken much to tweak this recipe to make it gluten free.  Simply, using gluten free oats and removing the barley malt products from the rice crunchies would have solved this.  Obviously, not all people who avoid gluten can eat oats (for example, the Allergy Brothers can’t so I tested it on their behalf!), but it would open up the product to many more people. As it is, these are some tasty biscuits suitable for popping in a packed lunch, and that’s a fairly crowded market.

We were provided with a free sample of this product by Goodness Direct.  They did not know we would be reviewing it on this site.

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Osem Instant Chocolate Pudding with Choceur (Aldi) Jamaican Rum Truffle

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Osem Instant Chocolate Pudding Ingredients – sugar, modified corn starch (produced from genetically modified organisms), alkalised cocoa powder, acidity regulators (tetrasodium pyrophosphate, calcium acetate, calcium lactate, disodium phosphate), caramelised sugar, flavourings.

I made up this chocolate pudding using Ecomil Almond milk.  It was incredibly easy to make and involved no heating so could be done safely by a small, but independent child.  It was very quick too, only requiring 5 minutes setting time before serving.  I can imagine this product being very helpful on holiday if you are camping or in a cramped self-catering kitchen. It tasted surprisingly good too. The main minus point is the presence of GMO and other highly processed ingredients.

I paired the pudding with fresh raspberries and a Choceur (Aldi brand) Jamaican Rum Truffle.

Choceur Rich Chocolate Jamaican Rum Truffles Ingredients – sugar, fat reduced cocoa powder, glucose syrup, water, palm fat, Jamaican Rum (3%), ground almonds, thickener: gum arabic, humectant: invertase, stabiliser: agar, glazing agent: gum arabic.

I think describing these as truffles is a bit misleading.  It’s better to think of them as rum and chocolate flavoured marzipan balls.  I liked the fact that the truffles are coated in dark chocolate, sugar strands, which makes them quite attractive to look at.  This was why I decided to use them to top the individual portions of chocolate pudding.  They would also look good decorating a chocolate cake or sitting on a scoop or two of rum and raisin icecream.  The “truffles” are very sugary, and you probably would not want to eat more than one or two in one go anyway.

Semper Cookie-O’s

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Cocoa-flavoured sandwich biscuit, gluten-free.

Ingredients – Cream filling 40% (sugar, palm oil, lactose, emulsifier (soy lecithin), flavouring), maize flour, sugar, palm fat, maize starch, fat-reduced cocoa (4%), glucose syrup, rapeseed oil, egg powder, thickeners (guar gum, xanthan gum), raising agents (ammonium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate), vanilla, salt.

Semper may call these Cookie-O’s, but we all know that they are gluten free, fake Oreos.  And, you know they are pretty good.  I think they would definitely pass the “picky small child packed lunch” challenge.  Conveniently, they are packaged into five mini packets of two biscuits.