Easter Nests (GF, DF, Vegan)

The Allergy Brothers made these Easter nests with chocolate eggs at school, using our recipe.  It’s really great that the boys are always included in their class’ cooking.

Ingredients

75g margarine (we used Pure sunflower brand)

50g golden syrup

100g dark chocolate (we used Kinnerton free from chocolate)

100g breakfast cereal (we used gluten free flakes and Nature’s Path Munch)

mini chocolate eggs (we used Lindt dark chocolate mini eggs)

Method

  1. Line a muffin tray with cases.
  2. Melt the margarine and golden syrup in a pan.  Reduce the heat to low, add the chocolate, and stir until the chocolate has melted.
  3. Remove from the heat, mix in the cereal, and stir until it is all chocolatey.
  4. Spoon into the muffin cases and make an indent in the centre. Place an egg in each nest.
  5. Chill the nests until they are firm.

 

 

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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.

 

NuGo Dark Peanut Butter Cup

Ingredients – Dark chocolate (Unsweetened chocolate, Cane sugar, Cocoa butter), Non-GMO soy crisp (Non-GMO soy protein isolate, Tapioca starch, Salt), Tapioca syrup, Agave syrup, Non-GMO Brown crisp rice, Ground peanuts, Peanut flour, Rice bran, Gum acacia, Peanut oil, Natural flavour, Soy lecithin, Salt.

Contains Peanut and Soy.  Manufactured on equipment that also processes products containing tree nuts, milk, and egg.  Product is produced under Kosher supervision and is certified Pareve.

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I was pulling a late night working on my lap top and decided I needed something to give me an energy boost.  This definitely hit the spot. There was a generous layer of dark chocolate, and it was pretty sugary.  The NuGo bar was crispy and light too.  This bar fulfilled all my requirements and fuelled me for another hour with my nose to the spreadsheet grindstone.

 

Amy’s Kitchen Manhattan Veggie Burger

Ingredients – Organic quinoa, Organic mushrooms, Organic onions, Organic celery, Organic carrots, Gluten free oats, Organic walnuts, Organic tapioca starch, Organic chickpea flour, Organic tomato puree, Sea salt, Sunflower oil, Organic garlic, Organic sugar, Filtered water, Organic potatoes, Cider vinegar, Organic molasses, Organic green sweet peppers, Hickory smoke flavour, Distilled white vinegar, Ground mustard seeds, black pepper, spices.

 

I quite like Amy’s Kitchen products (I reviewed their Breakfast Bun, and Burrito favourabl20160516_094206y) so I had high hopes for this product.  The packaging suggested four cooking methods: hob, barbecuing, oven or microwave oven.  The first time around I tried the oven method as it meant I could cook some oven chips simultaneously. I was rewarded with some salty, dried out, cork coasters.  Not good.  The second time, I fried them on the hob.  This was much more successful.  The moisture and flavour was sealed in.  The texture was better.  I could also actually taste the mushrooms and quinoa.  So, depending on the cooking methods available to you, this is either awful or quite nice!

A stack of free from foods next to a small boy's clothes laid out as if he is wearing them.

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who liked, commented, and shared our giveaway.  We went old skool and actually put the names on bits of card and then chose one from the jar.  Congratulations to Nicola, who will have the box of goodies arriving at her door soon.

A kilner jar filled with colourful, illustrated cards.

Also, does anyone know the collective noun for blog followers?  A party of followers?  A hug of followers?  An ego boost of followers?!  I will have to investigate as I will soon need this knowledge because our blog followers have been steadily increasing.  Thank you so much for choosing to follow our blog.  When I was a child, one of my favourite games was to make magazines and newspapers (The Oink Times ran for several editions; it was the newspaper of an imaginary pig community!).  Having a blog has allowed me to recapture that childish pleasure, but with the added excitement of actual, real readers.  So thank you!

A carton Oatly Orange and Mango drink on a Japanese red Vitra Corcniche shelf against a background of limesronetiles.

Oatly Orange and Mango Oat Drink.

Ingredients: Oat base (water, oats 10%), fruit concentrate (fructose, concentrate of orange and mango juice, concentrate of mango puree, citric acid), flavouring, colour (beta carotene).

I had enjoyed the Oatly pear and apple oat drink that I tested so I expected to enjoy this too.  The orange and mango drink was okay, but nothing special.  In fact, it’s been sitting in the fridge for a week waiting for someone to finish it, and now it’s going to be poured down the sink.  I think I have a bit of a problem with citrus and dairy flavours being used together.  I just think this is wrong; the dairy should curdle, even if it doesn’t.  Lemon cheesecake, I am looking at you as the chief suspect.  And I have carried this prejudice over to non-dairy milks.  So it could be my problem.

A carton Oatly Orange and Mango drink on a Japanese red Vitra Corcniche shelf against a background of limesronetiles.

However, even if the Oatly drink didn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth, then it’s snarky packaging did.  Bearing in mind that this product is probably going to be drunk by people who need to be careful about what they eat and drink (either through allergies, religious beliefs or personal dietary preferences), it just looks means to have the tag line “No milk.  No soy.  No…eh…whatever.”  on the front of the product.  They managed to follow this up by titling the back of the product “The boring (but very important) side.”  Then the ingredients and nutritional information is prefaced with the following “If this side bores you, please read no further.  Flip the carton around and have a wonderful day.  Otherwise, please do enjoy.”  Oh, those caddish advertising executives with their too cool for school attitude!  This must have seemed so edgy and subversive in the meetings.  The reality, as a frazzled Allergy parent, is that it just annoyed me, and for that reason alone I wouldn’t buy it again.

Don’t forget to enter our free from food giveaway, which is not boring or whatever!