The best thing about winter! Featuring Schlagfix vegan cream

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The second best thing about winter is a walk in the crisp, countryside air.  The best thing about winter is the hot chocolate you can justify drinking after the walk.  Unfortunately, the Allergy Brothers had never been able to have an enormous hot chocolate covered in cream and marshmallows, because we have never found a whipped cream that they could eat.  Soyatoo sold soya-based creams that could be whipped (Soya Topping Cream – 300ml) or came in pressurised containers(SOYATOO – SOYA SOYA CREAM SPRAY), but these were no good for the Allergy Brothers.

We were very excited to discover that Schlagfix sell a “Universelle Schlagcreme” that the boys could potentially eat.  This product can be used for whipping, cooking and baking.   If I am honest, I found the name very funny too because I am immature.  Anyway, here are the Ingredients:

Water, Palm kernel oil (fully hydrogenated) 15%, maltodextrin; glucose syrup; stabilizer: starch, E435, E331, E464, E460, E466, E339; emulsifiers: E4,81, E471, E475; salt, flavour.

Allergy Little enjoyed helping whip the cream, although, as you can see, he doesn’t like the noise of the beaters.  It turns out that you can get this cream in a pressurised container (Schlagfix Vegan Squirty Cream) too so that would save some work.20171228_162729

If we are honest, Allergy Little and I weren’t that impressed.  It turns out that something that is made out of oils and E numbers tastes like…  well, oily chemicals.  Who knew?!  But this product has its uses.  I am sure if you flavoured the cream then it would be much better.  I can imagine that we will use this cream when we need to make an Allergy Brother-friendly version of a specific recipe.

We used regular marshmallows, but you can get vegan mini pink and white marshmallows.

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This one gadget changed my gluten free, vegan lunches for the better!

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If your New Year’s resolution is to eat better then this post is for you!  It’s really hard to eat healthy, gluten free lunches in the winter.  Salad doesn’t seem right on a cold, sleeting day, gluten free bread doesn’t make great sandwiches, and gluten free pasta doesn’t work in pasta salads.  This is why I am so glad that a friend introduced me to a soup maker.  I do not use lots of gadgets in the kitchen, but I love my soup maker.  All you do is put the chopped up ingredients in the soup maker, and press a button.  Then you can go away and carry on with something else while it cooks and blends your soup.  My soup maker (Tefal BL841140 Easy Soup and Smoothie Maker, Stainless Steel, White) even has a keep warm function so I can have my lunch when I am ready for it.

This is my favourite recipe to cook in my soup maker.  You need to make sure all the vegetables are chopped to approximately the same size.

Ingredients

2 shallots, peeled and chopped

400g leeks, trimmed and chopped

300g potatoes, peeled if necessary and cubed

1 Knorr vegetable stock pot

1 carton of Alpro soya single cream

You just put all the ingredients in the soup maker.  I find it works best if you put the stock pot half way up the soup maker so it doesn’t get stuck to the bottom or wrapped around the blender at the top.  My soup maker has a minimum liquid level so I add a bit of water to take it to that level.  Choose the creamed soup option and off you go!

Obviously, if you work from home, like Allergy Dad does, then this works really well, but equally you could set this going in the morning and take your fresh soup in a flask with you.  This soup maker (Morphy Richards 501018 Soup and Smoothie Maker, 1.6 Litre, 1160 Watt, Red) looks like an absolute bargain.

Vegan Cheese Showdown

The holiday season has all sorts of associations for different people.  Rather shallowly and greedily, one of the things I love about Christmas is the food, especially cheese.  I was really pleased to see some new (to me) vegan cheeses on the Veggie Stuff website.  So, without further ado, it’s a vegan cheese showdown <hum the Rocky theme tune here>.

The two cheeses are Jeezini Intens and Green Vie Smoked Gouda flavour.

Obviously, the most important criteria on this site is ingredients.  The Green Vie’s ingredients are “Water, Coconut Oil (Non-Hydrogenated) (24%), Modified starch, Sea Salt, Vegan Flavourings, Smoke Flavouring, Colour: Natural Beta Carotene, Preservative: Sorbic Acid, Vitamin B12”.  The Jeezini ‘s ingredients are “Water, Plant Based Fats (Shea Kernal Oil, Coconut Oil) (23%), Modified Starch, Starch, Sea Salt, Vegan Flavour (Contains Soya Bean Oil), Olive Extract, Colour: B-carotene.”  They are both free from dairy, gluten, lactose, and palm oil.  The Green Vie brand is also soya free, while the Jeezini includes soybean oil.

Round One to Green Vie on points

Now, price – the Green Vie was £2.85 for 180g and the Jeezini Intens was £3.50 for 200g.

Round Two to Green Vie on points

Finally, it’s the taste test.  Recklessly, and despite all my previous experience with vegan cheese, I decided to try a slice uncooked.  The Jeezini was not good; it had that weird soapy taste that vegan cheese often has.  The Green Vie tasted really good.  To be fair, the Veggie Stuff website had a tip about the Jeezini “Best served at room temperature, as the flavour and texture is improved when warmer. This cheese alternative melts very well, ideally under direct heat like grilling or also zapped in a microwave.”  I grilled the cheeses on a wrap.  The Green Vie was still really good.  I am afraid that the Veggie Stuff website and I will have to agree to disagree.  Heating the Jeezini just made it stinkier and soapier.  At this stage, I decided to take The Green Vie Smoked Gouda to the ultimate level – the mighty crisp sandwich.  Some of the cheese and crushed Pom Bears in a wrap turned out to be the crowning glory of this taste test.  The Jeezini was consigned to the rubbish bin, which as I am both frugal and greedy gives you an idea of how bad it really was.

Round Three – win by knock out to Green Vie.

 

Morrison’s Free From Mince Pies

Gluten free and very nearly vegan mince pies

Ingredients – Mincemeat (45%) (sugar, apple puree, raisins, sultana, glucose syrup, currants, vegetable oils (palm, sunflower), glucose-fructose syrup, orange peel, spices, rice flour, acidity regulators (acetic acid, citric acid), lemon peel, dill, treacle, orange oil, preservative (sulphur dioxide)), Brown rice flour, Tapioca starch, Sugar, Vegetable oils (palm, rapeseed), Water, Ground almonds, Dextrose, Salt, Thickener (xanthan gum), Cornflour, Colour (plain caramel), Emulsifier (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids).

May contain egg, other nuts and peanuts.

This was a pretty good find for a supermarket own brand.  If it wasn’t for that pesky “may contain egg” then these would be vegan as well as wheat free, gluten free and milk free.  The pastry was crisp, and the filling was plentiful and full of flavour.  My only complaint was that these were a little dry, although that’s a problem with mince pies in general, so they benefitted from being accompanied with something moist.  I went with Alpro Soya single cream.

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Hadleigh Maid Dark Chocolate Walnut & Mallow Whirls

No dairy walnut whirls!

Ingredients: Cocoa Mass, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Glucose Syrup, Invert Sugar Syrup, Walnut, Gelatine (Bovine), Water, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Natural Vanilla Extract, Stabiliser (E452).

May contain Milk/Nut traces.

I like the Hadleigh Maid company.  They are based close to where we live, in the next county, Suffolk.  Unfortunately, the Allergy Brothers had never been able to try their products before.  Sadly, they couldn’t get past the shape of a walnut whirl!  They have never eaten shaped chocolate before, as they only eat bars of Kinnerton Free From chocolate.  Allergy Little would not believe me that it was edible, “but chocolate is square, that is too pyramidy!”

I took one for the team and tried them.  The dark chocolate was pretty good quality with a cocoa solids minimum of 56%.  The mallow was yummy, but it’s a shame it contains beef gelatine.  Maybe the Hadleigh Maid company could come up with a vegan version?

Veggie Stuff website

I needed to buy a couple of store cupboard staples (Orgran Apple and Cinnamon pancake mix, and Vegamigo pizza cheese).  It seemed sensible to look for one website that sold both these products, and so I came across the Veggie stuff website.  Really glad I did.  Fantastic website with a really wide range of vegan products.

I found some new Allergy Brother-friendly products: an omelette mix and a cream substitute.  Also, they have a really wide range of vegan cheeses.  I found two brands that I have never tried before so I will be testing those in a head-to-head comparison!  Looking forward to reviewing products from this extensive website.