Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Great Big Dairy Free Easter Egg Hunt (2013 Part 2)

You may have already perused the first part of this little mini-series. You may already have decided on your choice of egg and purchased it, in fact, or you may well be despairing at the lack of choice and bemoaning your fate. Fear not! There is more - if you're prepared to take a little risk and shop online...

I was kind of driven to it, by the plaintive voice of Baby, asking, 'Is that dairy free Mummy?' as I wandered the aisles of the local stores, in search of dairy free Easter eggs. She was pointing at the brightly-coloured, foil-wrapped mini eggs, and I thought to myself, 'Where can I find some of those?'

These egg halves ARE dairy free!
Now, if like me, you like to 'feel the width,' or, 'try before you buy,' this may not come naturally to you. However, if you're in search of a little more variety, this Easter, it really is the only way!

It may be, for example, that you'd like something a little bit more child friendly, or you'd like a clutch of mini eggs for an Easter egg hunt, or you'd like something more bespoke and artisan or maybe you are being driven delirious by distant memories of cream eggs, which are no longer an option for you. Well, fear not! All is not lost, I may just have the answer for you!!

Ready for the hunt? This basket came from The Works.

Now, if you're looking for something suitable for children, you might like to cast your eyes over Tasha's Dairy Free DelightsFree From for Kids or D & D Chocolates. They all sell a range of chocolate novelties and eggs, specifically aimed at catering for people with allergies. Why do I highlight this? Because although 'Vegan' chocolates are made dairy and egg free, from what I can gather, these are not made (or sold) with allergies in mind and I'm not sure whether there may be cross contamination issues, for those who are extremely sensitive.

Free From For Kids and Tasha both sell branded dairy free products but Tasha also makes some chocolate novelties of her own. D & D also make their own products, which are gluten, dairy free and nut free. They also sell a range of carob and Turkish delight.

The other nice thing about Tasha's Dairy Free Delights and Free From For Kids, is that they don't appear to be priced outrageously - often dairy free food and chocolate is more expensive, due to being a niche market. However, I have noticed that it's worth shopping around and following the right people, because there are still bargains to be had!!

What do I mean? Well, I couldn't help noting that Waitrose has the Moo Free Bunny priced at £0.79. In my 'local' health food shop, you can buy the same bunny for £0.69. 'Bargainous!!' thought I, until I discovered that Emma at Love Lactose Free Life (who quite frequently has special offers) has these same bunnies priced at £0. 60 each!! The Moo Free eggs are also cheaper than I've seen in the shops - priced £3.79. 

The Moo Free Chocolate Bunny.

'Big deal!' you might say, 'what about post and packaging?' However, factor in the cost of petrol and parking, and actually, you may well have saved myself some money!!

Emma also stocks a nice selection of eggs from premium makes, such as Booja Booja, Mulu and Montezuma, with Inspiralled soon to be added.

Other good places to buy premium eggs are online Vegan sites, such as The Vegan Store Animal Aid, and, online Health Store, Goodness Direct. Be aware, though, that Goodness Direct also sell eggs containing milk, alongside those that don't, so pick carefully!! Viva, another Vegan site, have a slightly smaller selection but they look quite cute.

Now, back to that Vegan cream egg. Facebook and Twitter followers will perhaps already have picked up on this one, but I was astounded to learn, the other day, that such a thing did indeed exist!! I've not tried it yet, as I somehow couldn't justify to myself spending £1.20 on just one tiny egg, plus the cost of post and packaging (£2.75 for orders under £10). However, there are other chocolate novelties available from this site, so if you buy a few other bits and pieces, it may be worth your while. If you do happen to be interested (must admit I'm still tempted), The Chocolate Wendy House is the online place to go.

I have noticed, since mentioning the vegan egg, that D & D Chocolates sell something similar - some chocolate fondant egg halves (pictured above). They're £4.96 for a pack of four (plus postage and packaging), so they're still quite pricey! However, they have some special offers on at the moment, so check out their home page, for more details.

I bought theirs though, as they are gluten free and they also had this little box in stock. It was just what I was looking for - with Easter coming up, I'm aware that some of the Baby and Toddler groups, that we attend, may well be offering little ones chocolate eggs. I couldn't go unprepared now, could I? So I bought these, just in case...

These tiny eggs look great (above) in the little basket from The Works.

Update: I've just found this post listing dairy free Easter eggs available in Canada and the US. The list for British chocolates looks incredibly similar to our own!!

NB Please be aware that details about products may change. Check out our Facebook Page for further updates, or follow us on Twitter!

Similar posts:

Be the Easter Bunny (Last year's post)

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Great Big Dairy Free Easter Egg Hunt (2013 Part 1)

Well, it's on! The hunt for the best in dairy free Easter Eggs, 2013!! 

Technically, I think I am probably a bit too old for Easter eggs - certainly my parents didn't seem to worry too much about having chocolate eggs for themselves, when we were little. Even now, I'm always told not to bother about getting them one, although I usually  get them something. However, at Easter, the big kid that's still there inside of me always looks forward to chocolate Easter eggs. 

Last year, I was a getting just a leeetle bit worried - I was pretty sure that dairy free eggs must exist somewhere, but they took some time to reach the shelves of the shops! For a while, I did consider making my own - melting down some dairy free chocolate, such as Moo Free or Kinnertons. I even bought the molds, and started to think about packaging, but fortunately, just at the last minute - the supermarkets stepped in. 

However, this year, there's definitely no need to worry - the dairy free chocolate manufacturers seem to have got there ahead of me - it's just a case of knowing where to look and what to look for!

What is out there looks pretty much the same as last year - with a few exceptions. The packaging is identical (sigh). But the where has shifted slightly.

As this post has the potential of being rather long (aren't they all), I'm splitting it into tow halves. This one is about...

What's in the shops?
The best option, around our way is definitely the big Sainsbury's. Morrison's is much bigger around here, but all they sell is the Kinnerton Egg, some Easter Haribo and a few plastic eggs containing jelly sweets. 

These look quite fun!
Easter Haribos might be seen in quite a few places, I found these in my local Co-op.

These would be great hidden inside an egg-shaped gift box!
The Kinnerton egg is suitable for anyone who has problems with dairy, gluten, egg or nuts. It's dark, though, so you're okay as long as you like dark chocolate.

The distinctively packaged Kinnerton egg

Sainsbury's, meanwhile, has the Kinnerton Egg, plus all three of the Choices (by Celtic Chocolates) range as well as their own yellow wrapped egg - although I think I'm right in saying that's also made by Celtic Chocolates.

Celtic chocolate has more of a 'milk' chocolate flavour, and is pretty good value for money.

What a welcome sight - at Sainsbury's!

This particular display was found in the Free From aisle of a large Sainsbury's, but in the smaller Sainsbury's in town, the Choices egg was displayed alongside the 'normal' Easter eggs. 

The Choices Easter Egg is also sold by the online supermarket, Ocado, who interestingly enough, are not selling the Moo Free egg that some larger Waitroses are selling. Most Waitroses seem to be selling Rosie, the Moo Free Easter Bunny.

Moo Free chocolate is gluten as well as dairy free. It's not made with soya - so it's a good bet for those who cannot tolerate soya in any form. That said, the packets do warn that  Moo Free may contain soya, but, as yet, I do not know of anyone who has had a bad reaction to it. If you are the exception to this rule, please let me know!!

Meet Rosie Rabbit

Waitrose also appear to be selling Divine chocolate eggs. The nice thing about buying Divine chocolate is knowing that it's fairly traded. The darker eggs, like this one (spotted in TK Maxx) are not made with milk, but be warned - they may contain traces of milk and other allergens. So, if you're super-sensitive, I'd give these a miss. 

The Divine egg

The Asda, near us, so far has nothing and neither did Tesco, even though Tesco has been selling 'normal' Easter Eggs since Christmas!!! However, Tesco now stock the Kinnerton egg, as well as Divine dark chocolate mini eggs.

On the High Street, my local Holland and Barrett appear to be stocking the Choices range, complete with a chocolate bunny! 

Photo: And Holland & Barrett!! (Thanks Nicola @N1C79 for sharing about about this one.)
Hmmm! Choices!
Very similar to the Moo Free bunny in appearance, it is in fact much larger, but also more expensive - £1.49 each, although everything at Holland and Barrett is buy one, get one half price, at the moment, so get in there quick!! 

Holland and Barrett are also stocking Booja Booja's Champagne Truffles - yes really!

My nearest health food shop sell Moo Free and Booja Booja chocolate and Easter eggs. Booja Booja's eggs must surely win the prize for the most attractively-packaged. Basically (as in previous years), you get a incredibly decorative papier mache egg, containing some of their truffles.

At Thornton's - not known generally for producing dairy free chocolate, you can find a dark chocolate Easter egg, but it's really not intended for allergy sufferers, so if you're sensitive, beware!

Meanwhile Hotel Chocolat, the well-known high street chocolatiers, have disappointed me, a little, this year. The amazingly extravagant Gianduja egg, that they sold last year, has not made a reappearance. However, as it didn't appear to sell well (there were an awful lot of them on sale after Easter, last year), that's probably not too much of a surprise! You can still obtain the 'Bombes' that came with the egg - in a packet of six. 

These are truly amaze-balls!!

They are nothing much to look at, BUT I have to tell you - they are incredibly gorgeous!! If you can tolerate nuts and soya lecithin, you should really try them!

However, Hotel Chocolat are selling an egg this year, of sorts. It's called the egg sandwich. In comparison with last year's offering, I personally find it a little disappointing and unimaginative. You can read about it, in more detail, on the Veggie's blog. 

Hotel Chocolat's range thankfully doesn't begin and end with the egg sandwich! They also have a 'Bunny Lick' (chocolate lollipop), an 'Egg Catcher Tablet' (chocolate bar with relief design) as well as a box of the 'Tiddly Chicks' that they sold last year.

Note new packaging design!

Just a little reminder - only the dark chocolate at Hotel Chocolat is dairy free. Look for  70% on the packaging. Vegans will need to be a little more careful, as I have noticed that not all of the dairy free choices show up as Vegan, when I looked at them online.

And also, please note that not all branches of Hotel Chocolat are stocking the complete range. I visited Basingstoke branch, at the weekend and was disappointed to learn that although they stocked the 'Bunny Licks', only the milk chocolate version was available, not the dark (milk free version). You can however, obtain them online, direct from Hotel Chocolat.

At which point, I think I shall probably stop. More on online chocolate, next time!! If you can't stand the suspense, you can find links to more posts, on a similar theme, below!!

NB Please be aware that details about products may change. Check out our Facebook Page for further updates, or follow us on Twitter!

Related Posts:
On the trail of the Dairy Free Easter Bunny! (Last years' post)
Be the Easter Bunny
Oo! Ah! Chocolat!
Sweets for my sweet...

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Yummy Chocolate Sauce

Not so long ago, you might remember that there was an occasion on which Baby had to sit and watch the rellies eat a chocolate brownie right in front of her. If you didn't catch that post, you might like to read about it here. What she saw that day, looked not dissimilar to this:

Looking good? All dairy free!

These, of course, are not made with dairy. It's our dairy free take on what she missed out on, that day.

We often try to compensate when Baby misses out. I'm not quite sure whether that's what The Hub had mind, but, not long after that occasion, he found a Hale and Hearty Chocolate Brownie Mix, in Planet Organic, and decided to make them with her. So, one Saturday, out came the mix and before long there was a tray of chocolate brownies ready to be eaten. 

Mmm! Chocolate Brownies!!

They were pretty good chocolate brownies, too, but I couldn't help thinking they were missing something - something to add a certain 'Je ne sais quoi,' a topping of some kind. 

'A hot chocolate sauce,' I thought, 'would be perfect!!'

After a bit of hunting on Google, during which I came across quite a few recipes (both dairy free and otherwise) I came across this one, which I decided looked good, purely on the basis that it seemed really simple - just four ingredients; chuck 'em all in a pan; stir them for a bit and et voila... Bob's your uncle!! What could possibly be simpler than that? 

It wasn't a dairy free recipe, but you can find substitutes for most things.

The recipe called for chocolate - well that wasn't too hard to trace - there's usually a bar of Kinnerton's somewhere in the cupboard! I usually get mine from Sainsbury's. The only problem I had was that the recipe called for more than the amount of chocolate that I had. 

I like to keep a bar of this in my cupboard for... emergencies :)

Not needing too much sauce, anyway, I decided to halve the amounts of all the ingredients in the recipe. Unfortunately, there was a few squares of chocolate left over, so naturally, I had to dispose of those - you can probably guess how!!

Now Kinnerton's chocolate is quite dark. If you prefer a milkier chocolate, you might like to use Moo Free, although it is a bit pricier than Kinnerton's.

75g in the pan, which left 10g over for me to... share with Baby.

Also required, for this recipe was some cream. I'm pretty sure most dairy free substitute creams would work - whether the soya cream produced by Alpro, or the oat one made by Oatly. 

Not being able to have either of those, I needed an alternative. It seemed the perfect opportunity to use a small carton of Ecomil almond cream, that I'd been keeping in the cupboard. I'd only used it for toppings before. They sell his in my health food shop, but it's also available online at Goodness Direct, among other places.

It was easier to measure 1/4 of a cup than halve 125mls!

Well, it took no time at all to make the sauce. It really was simple to make. Baby and I enjoyed it tremendously, with brownie and ice cream. It kept rather nicely in a small jug in the fridge and went rather well with our Shrove Tuesday pancakes!! 

All four ingredients in the pan. What could be easier?
I'm definitely going to make this sauce again, only, having found that Lyle's Butterscotch syrup (that was also on our pancakes) went rather well with it, I might just make a slight adjustment to the recipe!! 

Other Posts:
Bessant and Drury's Dairy Free Ice Cream
A pud would be good
So how do you like yours? Pancakes!!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Sweet Valentine

Last year I wondered if The Hub had read the post I wrote for Valentine's Day. It turns out he did, or at least I think he did. He bought me a chocolate heart from Hotel Chocolat anyway, and I still have it, as it was far too pretty for me to eat. 

Hotel Chocolat's dark chocolate (in case you don't know) is listed as suitable for vegans, so dairy free. This year, Hotel Chocolat brought out something similar to what The Hub bought me last year. 
Still beautiful, but this year, on a stick!
Last year, Baby clearly had no intention of being left out of proceedings, and tried to make off with Daddy's pressie, so this year, I've decided to get in there first - I've been casting around for a few gems that she might like, or that we could share with her. 

Perhaps an obvious choice (they seem to be everywhere this year) are Love Hearts. Last year Baby wasn't too keen, but it's amazing how her tastes have changed in the last year or so - she's now after one of my fave ready meals, given half a chance (Amy's Gluten and Dairy Free Macaroni and Cheese).

Such a cute tin!
You can find them in various packages - The Works had a big tube for about a pound, but I thought these (you can find these fairly easily in the supermarkets, for around £2.50) were perfect. I really love the tin, which could be kept to keep little items safe - I'm thinking it would make a great pin tin for my sewing box, but I suspect Baby will have other ideas!!

There's not mention of any allergens on the tin, of any kind.

Another classic sweet is these Haribo hearts. Not quite so cute a package, you get two of these bags in a box.

Baby loves Haribo
Containing gelatin, they're not suitable for vegans, but are dairy and egg free (no mention of nuts/gluten).

Thorntons have also produced some Jelly Hearts. You would think they might be slightly more classy, but I found the packaging a little bit disappointing! 

Is it just me, or is the package a bit naff?
These sweets may contain milk, eggs and nuts, so they're not the greatest option, if you need to be at all careful. They say they contain no gluten-containing ingredients. I'll leave that one up to you to judge!!

These Pomegranate Hearts, by Biona, I found in our health food shop. Safe for almost anyone; they are suitable for Vegans and gluten free (but there's no mention of nuts)!

These ARE gluten free !
Perhaps my favourite find was this mug - by Emma Bridgewater. It was a Christmas design, so reduced down from £19.99 to around £5 in my local garden centre. Me, I don't mind that it was meant for Christmas - with those love hearts (well I think they're topical anyway). Unfortunately, unless you live near me, you won't be able to buy that one, but if you live near Sainsbury's, you will be able to buy these Marshmallow Hearts.

Unfortunately, Baby has raided these already, so the label has disappeared and I can't tell you about the ingredients! But hey! They must be dairy free, 'cos she's been okay!

Something that will definitely be OK are some cute slate heart coasters that I saw in Waitrose, the other day. Now, those will definitely be dairy free!

Related Posts:

Saturday, 9 February 2013

The Creme de la dairy free Creme

Oo! How I love/loved cream!! 

Along with cheese, it's like the Holy Grail of my dairy free world! It's fine if you can tolerate soya - many dairy substitutes are made with soya, but I can't. 

I don't know about you, but I've tried a few.

In the early days of going dairy free (pre-discovering I couldn't tolerate gluten) not being able to tolerate soya, I used to use Oatly as my milk replacement and Oatly cream as an accompaniment for a dessert. 

Like many dairy replacements, the Oatly cream needed a good shake, before you opened the carton - as the contents tend to have separated a bit, whilst they've been sat on a shelf. I didn't get as far as baking with it, although it says that you can on the carton, but I did like a blob of it on my apple crumble. By itself, it was bland enough and didn't leave any nasty after taste.

One thing I found, though, was that the cream would start out fairly thick, in consistency, but would soon go runny, once it came into contact with the heat from the apple crumble.

Apple Crumble and 'cream' - delicious!
Once I became gluten free, as well as dairy and soya free, I really thought that my options were limited, until I came across the following, by Ecomil.

Look carefully,  when shopping, it's actually quite a small carton.
Basically, it's a 'cream' that's made with almonds, and, like Oatly, is suitable for cooking. I've used it on desserts ( as with the apple crumble above and now, also, to make a rich chocolate sauce (which I'll tell you more about another time).

On it's own, it tastes fairly bland, but actually works well as an accompaniment, I think. It's fairly thick in consistency, but doesn't work well in coffee - I should know, I've tried. It was an experiment too far!

Look, how it's split!!
It didn't taste bad, but it looked awful, as you can see!

I didn't manage to get hold of any more for quite a while, until I moved to our current location and found that it was stocked by my current 'local' health food store.

So, for a while, I was cream free, until thanks to my friend Sarah (@Sugarpuffish on Twitter) I was pointed in the direction of The Vegan Store and the somewhat misleadingly named Soyatoo.

I say misleadingly, because although they do make products from soya, they also make 'cream' from rice and coconut.

The first product of theirs, that I tried, I think I actually found locally. It was an aerosol cream, made of rice - very similar to the actual cream one I remember we sometimes had as a treat, when I was growing up. At the risk of making you drool, I have to tell you that I thought it was perfect on top of a hot chocolate, although the heat did make it melt in to the drink!

Deep joy!
Obviously not meant for cooking, I also tried it with strawberries - my favourite fruit! By itself, it had no real particular flavour, but I thought it had a nice enough taste and accompanied the strawberries quite nicely.

Just right for Wimbledon!
However, the spray button caused me a bit of trouble. I don't know if I was being thick, but I could only get tit to work properly the first time. On subsequent occasions, despite following the instructions on the can, to the letter, the nozzle didn't seem to spray too well. How disappointing!!

Once opened, I refrigerated it though, and this may have been the problem as it was meant to be kept at ambient temperature apparently, but for no more than two or three days. This I discovered, once I emailed the company.

Since then I have discovered that Soyatoo also make a dairy and soya free rice whipping cream (sold by The Vegan Store). It is long life, so it can be stored in the cupboard for some while - ideal to keep handy in case you suddenly feel the need! 

Having tried it, I think it makes quite a good alternative to cream. There's no unpleasant after-taste. It is easy to whip up cream, but is best chilled first - when chilled it becomes a little more solid and holds shape well. 

One to try!
Although I am still breastfeeding, I felt fine to try these, as it's not like I am planning to eat them everyday!! (If you'd like to know why I am avoiding rice milk, whilst breastfeeding, you might be interested in reading this earlier post.) However, for those who are scrupulously avoiding rice milk, Soyatoo also make a coconut whipping cream.

This is it:
Sorry about the photo quality, here, folks!
On first opening the carton, I couldn't help noticing the smell of the coconut, from which it was made and it didn't look too appetising when I emptied it out into a bowl to be whipped. I planned to use to as an accompaniment to my Christmas pudding. With an electric whisk, like the rice whip, it didn't whisk up too badly, at all. 

Christmas pudding soon being off my list of 'foods I can eat,' I tried it instead with, yes, you've guessed it - crumble! Raspberry and apple this time!

Yes, there's a LOT of cream in this picture but it made lot and I was the only one eating it!
And again, with Strawberries - only this time I combined them with a meringue nest. Hey presto! A mini pavlova!

Obviously, whipping cream is just that - and can only really be used for a topping. Funnily enough that is just what it reminded me of - Dream Topping! The flavour was more artificial, I think, than others I had tried. I could cope with it, but it wasn't my favourite. The consistency was good, though - it held shape well. It did occur to me, that because of this it could be frozen (once whipped) and eaten as a kind of ice cream, but I haven't tried it myself.

However, there's another kind of cream that you might want to try. I've come across it, in blogs, but not yet tried it myself. It is, however, probably the most easy to find in your local stores - canned coconut cream! Canned Coconut Cream can be whipped up and in this blog, by Oh She Glows, there is a really good demonstration of how it can be done. 

Now, I'm supposed to avoid canned food - I don't think it does anything too nasty to me, but it brings out quite a rash on my face, which is itchy and gives me exactly the same reaction as I get from my nickel allergy. Despite my funny rash, I think one day that I might give it a go. After all, you only live once!  :)

Other posts about dairy substitutes can be found by following this link.

Update - I've found another vegan cream:

Vegan Devonshire 'Klotted Kream'

Friday, 8 February 2013

Orgran. Perfect Pancakes?

The other week The Hub went shopping at Planet Organic, during his lunch break. I quite like it when he does that - he always comes back with free from goodies. To my surprise, on this occasion, one of his purchases was this box of pancake mix:

Not sure that my final product exactly matches theirs...
It appears, Orgran's mix is the ultimate in free from food mixes - at first glance, it seems to be free of almost everything you could possibly think of: dairy, wheat, gluten, soya, eggs (as long as you use an egg replacer - they suggest theirs) and nuts. In fact you almost begin to wonder what could possibly be in it - it turns out its buckwheat. Never having knowingly cooked with that before, I was quite intrigued. There are other packet mixes, on the market  - by Mrs Crimble and Hale and Hearty however, Orgran's is, I believe, the only one that is nut free too.

I probably wouldn't have bought the Orgran mix, myself - I haven't had a great deal of success with Orgran packet mixes and pancakes are pretty easy to make anyway - especially now that I have a pancake pan with the recipe written all over it. Besides which, by the time you've added the extra ingredients (in this case water, dairy free milk and 3 eggs, or egg replacer, if you need to be egg free) you've provided half the ingredients yourself, anyway!

What pancake recipe could be simpler?
The advantage of packet mixes, though, is that you don't need to blend different gluten free flours together and work out which work best. I don't know about you, but I'm not confident enough to do that and don't have enough room in my kitchen cupboards for them all, anyway.

Packet open, it was a pleasant surprise to discover there's a generous amount of mix inside (unlike some packet mixes I could mention). It certainly went a long way, between the three of us! It also looked a bit wholemeal-like.

I have to say, with no messy weighing out of this or that, the mix was made in no time at all, and was soon sizzling in the pan. Made strictly according to the instructions on the packet, with Kara/Koko coconut milk, to my mind it seemed to create a very thick, more American style, pancake than the French crepe-style pancake that I'm more used to.

First effort!
This mixture, however, seemed perfect for shape making. Following an idea from another blog that I came across this week (Madison Makes), we tried making more interesting looking pancakes. Madison uses a squeezy bottle to make hers, but we used a large, metal, bear-shaped cookie cutter, instead.

Bear-shaped pancake, anyone?
It worked out quite well, for a first go:

The extra blob is a ball (Baby's idea) in case you're wondering!
But Baby soon lost interest in bear-shaped pancakes - she was far more interested in coating her pancakes with chocolate sauce and Lyle's Butterscotch Syrup!! I added bananas, as well, though - to try and balance out the food groups! It seemed to work for Baby - she ate her first proper helping of banana in a long while! Baby doesn't like what she calls the 'pipsies'  in the banana. Disguised with syrup and chocolate sauce (tell you about the chocolate sauce another time), she didn't notice the difference!!

Back to the syrup, though... we love this syrup, even more than chocolate sauce (and that's saying something)!! It just so happens to be suitable for Vegans (dairy and egg free) as well as gluten free (yes, really)!

Banana, chocolate sauce and butterscotch syrup. Lovely!!
Meanwhile, my mission was to thin the pancake mixture down a bit - I just added a little more coconut milk, until it reached a consistency with which I was happy.

See, that's more like it!
So what was the pancake itself like? Well, by itself, it was savoury and a little dry, perhaps. Maybe the pancake was a little brittle, once it was cooked, BUT cover it with your favourite toppings, and I think you'll find it makes a perfectly acceptable pancake!!

Smiles all round!
Can't think helping that I could have added some Bessant and Drury ice cream to those pancakes - then I could have called them 'Banana Splits'. Oh well, there's always another time :)

Great minds think alike, or so they say. I had just finished trialling Orgran's Buckwheat Pancake Mix, when I discovered another blogger already had it covered. BUT having already done the hoof work, as it were (no horse meat included - unlike Findus) I decided to go ahead with it - after all I wanted to come at it from another angle anyway.  The other blog is Vegan - Veganoo, if you're interested.

Similar Posts:
So how do you like yours? Pancakes!
A pud would be good!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

New cheese on the block - meet MozzaRisella!

You know what they say about buses? Well sometimes I find that about the products that I mention. No sooner have I 'covered' a subject, then something else comes along!

When I wrote my recent post about dairy free cheese and followed that with a guest post by Sarah (@Sugarpuffish on Twitter) I really thought I had covered the subject pretty definitively, BUT it appears not!! Browsing the fridge in my nearest health food store, recently, I came across this little beauty: MozzaRisella

Dairy free Mozzarella!
Basically, as its name suggests, it is a Vegan alternative to Mozzarella - made with rice, as opposed to cow's milk. Reassuringly, it is an Italian product. When I saw this, I thought to myself, "Italians invented Mozzarella, didn't they? That means it must be good!"

Then I realised that the packaging states it is lactose, gluten and soy free. "Yippeee!!" I thought, "that means I can eat it!!"

The actual ingredients, are as follows:
Biosurice (water, germinated whole rice, lemon juice, apple vinegar, salt), cold pressed coconut oil. 
Thickening agents: agar-agar, gum arabic, xanthum gum, carob flour.
Flavourings: natural flavouring

To me, the most obvious way to use Mozzarella, is as a topping on a pizza. Having heard a lot about gluten free pizza, on Twitter recently (it seems to be cropping up everywhere) I couldn't wait to give it a go!!

Poised and ready for action!
In case you're interested, my base of choice was Sainsbury's Free From. Instead of puree, I used this Seeds of Change sauce (I can't eat tinned food).

Easy to slice
I've never used real Mozzarella myself, so I've no idea how it should handle, but I thought the MozzaRisella sliced well. 

A common complaint, in the dairy free community is that dairy free cheese doesn't melt very well. MozzaRisella did, when I used the Sainsbury's base - which was cooked at 200 degrees C, for about ten minutes. 

Et Voila!
However, the next day, when I tried to repeat my pizza experiment with a different base that cooked at a slightly lower temperature (180 degrees C) it didn't look as though it melted quite so well, but did seem gooey enough, when I ate it.

Pizza number two!

Now it's a long time since I've tasted real Mozzarella, but I have to say that I enjoyed this pizza perfection (see what I did there). It was gooey and creamy and off-set the strong tangy tomatoey layer, really well. The Hub thought that it tasted okay (ie. good enough) with the pizza, but that it wasn't stretchy, like real Mozzarella. He thought it definitely had a cheesy taste but tasted more like Dairy Lea, when eaten by itself.

I have to say, I definitely want to buy it again, to top my pizza, but there's only one place I know locally, that sells it. Today, when I went back for more, and it was all gone!!

MozzaRisella have another dairy free cheese in this range - Creamy Risella. It describes itself as a 'spread', which I believe is intended for eating with crackers. I tried it with Barkat's gluten free crackers (which, by the way, I love).

Cheese Number Two!
The ingredients are as follows:
Biosurice (water, germinated whole rice, salt, apple vinegar), water, cold pressed coconut oil, rice syrup, lemon juice.
Thickening agents: agar-agar, gum arabic, xanthum gum, carob flour.
Flavourings: natural flavouring.

Personally speaking, Creamy Risella did not rock my boat in quite the same way as MozzaRisella, but as people respond differently to products, in terms of taste (The Hub thought it tasted pretty much the same as the other), I would urge you to try it for yourself and make your own judgement. I might, however, be tempted to try using it in making dishes that require a soft cheese.

Like the MozzaRisella, I found it in my health food store. Unfortunately, it's not cheap (£3.99) but then dairy free products are often niche and expensive to produce - it kind of goes with the territory! 

If you want to buy it, the current list of stockists can be found here.

Update:  On Facebook, Jennifer and Hannah mentioned that they have contacted Mozzarisella and discovered that you can buy it direct - £3.70 per cheese, minimum order of £10, postage £6.99, grand total £18.09 (cost of package probably because it needs to be kept chilled). Mozzarisella indicated that they are just beginning to roll-out their product in the UK and that we can help, by inquiring at our local health food shops. Also there is a new product to follow - Pizzarisella gluten free, so keep your eyes peeled and keep pushing those doors!!

Other posts about dairy free cheese: