Bonvita Bonbarr

Ingredients: Corn syrup, Dark chocolate (20%: raw cane sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, vanilla), Nougat (14%: raw cane sugar, hazlenuts, cocoa mass, cocoa butter), Corn powder, Tapioca flour, Palm fat, Lupin flour.

Lactose percentage less than 0.1%.  Produced in a factory that handles nuts.

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If you have never eaten a Mars Bar, then a Bonbarr probably makes a nice change from a bar of plain dark chocolate.  If you have eaten a Mars Bar, then try not to think about it at all while eating this because, in comparison, the Bonbarr is Blandy McBland.  On the positive side, this is one of the few products that contain nougat, but don’t contain egg so that might make somebody’s day…

Tolerant Foods Red Lentil Rotini & Violife Prosociano

I have been a bit poorly (that will serve me right for crowing so much about how great I felt doing Veganuary!), but I have not neglected the blog entirely.  In fact, I have been continuing my search for the perfect Allergy Brothers friendly, easy, mid-week meal.  Last week we tried red lentil pasta and vegan parmesan.

Ingredients Tolerant Foods Red Lentil Rotini – Non-GMO, organic red lentils.  That’s it.

Ingredients Violife Prosociano – Water, Coconut oil (17%), Modified starch, Starch, Sea salt, Rice protein, Vegan parmesan flavour, Olive extract, Colour – b-carotene

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I’ll start with reviewing the pasta.  The Allergy Brothers sniffed it and refused to try it.  I poo-pooed their fears , and tucked in.  “This is delicious,” I said.  And it was.  Just like normal pasta, but weirdly filling.  It was easily a meal with just some cheese shavings on.  And then, I had an allergic reaction to it.  The boys are so much better than I am at detecting which things will make us ill!  So if you are not allergic to this then I would recommend it.

The vegan parmesan was pretty good too.  It had a hard texture; this is especially impressive when you consider that vegan cheeses are often a bit soggy.  There was a strong flavour; the smell was too strong for the Allergy Brothers, but this wasn’t for them anyway.  It was really very convincing.  Now the negatives, it is pricey (we paid £4.90 for 235g), but then so is real parmesan.  I also didn’t like the vague ingredients.  What kind of starch?  Rice?  Potato?  What is vegan parmesan flavour?

So in summary, this would indeed be an easy, mid-week meal, but just not for the Allergy Brothers.

Vegan, gluten free Gingerbread Robot Teddies!

We had some Sweet Freedom left over from the Choc Chick Chocolate Making Kit so it seemed like a good idea to use it up in some “last day of the holidays” baking.

Ingredients

  • 180g margarine
  • 90g Sweet Freedom
  • 150g corn flour
  • 150g gram flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.
  2. Cream the margarine and Sweet Freedom together.
  3. Stir in the flours and ginger, and work together to form a soft dough.   This should give you a lovely smooth dough that cuts really nicely.
  4. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into shapes.
  5. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and put the dough shapes on to it.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Leave the shapes to cool before removing from the baking tray.  The photo shows what happens if you don’t.  We thank you, sacrificial teddy on the right side in the middle, for giving us lots of broken bits to “test”!20160103_121727.
  8. Decorate in whatever way you fancy.  The Allergy Brothers had painted their faces to look like robots from Lego Hero Factory so we decorated the bears to match.  Unfortunately, Allergy Big rubbed his face with his hand just before I took the photo so you will have to believe that the grubby marks are not dirt, but face paint.20160103_140816

Day 4 of Veganuary

So far Veganuary is going swimmingly.  I might be deluding myself, but I feel a bit more energised?, I think.  It could just be that, after the Christmas blow out, I would be feeling a bit healthier on my normal diet anyway.  I think I may have experienced a cheese hangover on the day after Boxing Day, after chomping my way through most of a Camembert.

Vegan food shopping is both very easy and a bit of a nightmare.  It’s difficult because I don’t eat wheat.  For example, vegetarian Quorn contains egg white so it is not vegan, but vegan Quorn contains wheat instead!  Gah!  In fact, quite a lot of vegan products use  wheat as a substitute for meat, often in the form of something called seitan, which I will never know about.

However, there is a really easy way to shop that is both vegan and wheat free.  There’s this whole section (it’s often at the front of the store because it looks enticingly fresh and healthy) that only contains plant-based foods.  Of course, it’s the fruit and veg section.  Now, I have stopped thinking about these as accompaniments to meat, but as valuable and interesting foods in their own right, I am paying a bit more attention.  I made myself some really delicious soup today with a variety of vegetables, herbs and vegetable stock.  It was flavoursome, nutritious and cheap.  I frankly feel a bit of a numpty for not noticing this before.

New Year’s Resolutions

My personal resolution for 2015 was to not shop at Amazon, and to try to replace this with shopping in independent stores.  I certainly achieved the first resolution as I did not place a single Amazon order in 2015.  I found the second half of the resolution harder to stick with.  I discovered that there are many interesting independent shops and cafes out there.  As they are nearly always staffed by their owners, the customer service is usually excellent.  The staff are almost always knowledgeable and friendly.  However, I did find the opening hours to be not always as reliable as I would like.  I have generally decided that I still prefer independent shops and I will get irritated when they are closed unexpectedly, but that’s okay.

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I decided that my resolution for 2016 should be a food-based one.  I have resolved to commit to Veganuary, that is to commit to being vegan for January (this is my (Allergy Mum’s) personal resolution; the Allergy Brothers are not being asked to go vegan as well, unless they want to).  As the Allergy Brothers avoid eggs and dairy for allergy reasons, it seems a small step for me to cut out meat, fish and other animal products as well.  I think it will be interesting to see how it goes.   I have toyed with cutting out animal products on and off throughout the last year, but I have not consistently stuck to this.  I have noticed that I almost always feel physically better when I an eating vegan food.  I have been hugely impressed by the vegan food I have eaten over the last year.  The yummy food at The Den Café in Colchester, see reviews here, here and here, has been a big influence on my decision.