Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Breakfast with Udi's - dairy free, gluten free, soya free

Are you new to Udi's?? I am. Was. Not now! 

I'd heard of them knew that they were gluten free and that was about it - until I went to Tesco the other day and discovered that all the dairy free chocolate had GONE from the shelf!!!!!!

In their place, was a whole bunch of stuff by Udi's. 

'Hmm!' I thought, 'these are new! And some of them are dairy free, soya free as well!' 

Still disgruntled, I packed some into my basket and trundled off.

Now, usually for brekkie I have the same thing every day. Following various upsets, I usually play it safe and just stick to puffed rice with almond milk.  Bit boring, but there it is.

However, these products by Udi's have given me the opportunity to branch out a bit and try something new.

First up, this granola:

Not a huge pack for your money.

I have to be a bit careful with oats these days. Sometimes I'm okay and then I'm not. Oats with dried fruit is a complete no, no, NO!! This mix wasn't the only choice, there were other granolas by Udi's on the shelf (Naturel and Cranberry), however I thought I'd try this one as it includes other bits I know I can eat safely (honey and almonds) and see what happened.

I tried it with with my usual almond milk and have to say I thought it was lovely. 

I'm really hoping my gut remains okay with the oats, because I'd really like to add this into my breakfast repertoire. Not everyday though, as it is not the cheapest option!

Price: £2.75

Next up, these pop tarts. Well Udi's call them 'Pastries' but they look like pop tarts to me!

Actually they look nicer in real life than on the packet!

In my former life (before I was gluten and dairy free) I would not have ever bothered with pop tarts - they're very processed and not very filling. That doesn't mean I haven't ever eaten one, but it was a long, long time ago, when I last did. 

That said, I would say that this version was jolly good. I think it tasted like the real deal. I probably wouldn't choose to eat this regularly as I don't think they would keep me going until lunch time. like the 'real deal' I think they're a bit too processed for my liking and even a bit salty. However, I could definitely see these in my luggage if I was travelling - they come in little individual packets and could come in very handy indeed!!

'Baby' has never had the 'real deal' It didn't matter - she loved hers!! Even though she could see it contained strawberry. It disappeared completely!!

You can also buy these in Apple and Cinnamon.

Price: £2.50 for a packet of four

Then there were these breakfast bars:

Strawberry again!

Again I would say that they definitely tasted like the 'real deal'. Like the pastries they were still rather processed but perhaps less salty. They could provide a great mid-morning snack, if you were in a hurry, but I'd rather have a decent home made flapjack! 

Again, they came in individual packets, which would be great for packing in hand luggage if you were planning on flying and weren't sure what you were going to be offered. 

'Baby' wasn't so keen on these, but they were ever so slightly gritty in texture, which could be why.

Price: £2.50 for a packet of five

Lastly I tried these:

I like my bagels with jam - sweet tooth!

Wow! Honestly, these were good! I tried one on The Hub and he agreed!

Before going gluten free, I used to love Cinnamon and Raisin bagels by the New York Bagel Company as they're dairy free. I could have had Udi's version, but sometimes raisins do something to me, so I left those and went for the plain ones. I wasn't expecting much, BUT I would say that I prefer these to the New York Bagel Company's gluten filled ones. 

They were so soft and actually less dry than the bagels I remember. I will definitely be buying these again!

Price: £1.80 for a packet of four

Other new Udi products included a loaf which was made with soya, and some new crisps, which were flavoured with cheese or jalopeno, so definitely out for me! However, I was encouraged to see that there were a number of new products that catered for me, as my current Tesco seems mainly to cater for just the gluten free! Hence no dairy free chocolate - just as well there's a decent Sainsbury's nearby!

Since writing this review, I have been back to Tesco to buy some more, and have discovered that they've undergone a bit of a price hike!! The granola now costs £3.25 - which is a LOT when you consider that there isn't very much in the packet. The bagels now cost £2.30. When you consider that you pay about £1.60 for a packet of five New York Company bagels (non gluten-free), this is truly shocking. I shall not be able to justify buying these regularly, now, but only as a treat. :(

On the plus side, Tesco now stock dairy free Moo Free chocolate at the lowest price I've seen it yet - 50p for a regular bar and £1 for a pack of three! Let's hope these don't undergo the same sort of price hike as Udi's!!

Baking with Baby 11 - The Chocolate One

Well, as you may know, the other week it was The Parents wedding anniversary - the big golden five-oh!

It having fallen to me to make the cake (being the 'awkward' one - with food allergy/intolerance/whatever) I decided to go for a cake with two layers. The bottom one was to be fruit and the top chocolate - for those who aren't that keen on fruit (like 'Baby').

Having leaped right out of my comfort zone, with the fruit cake (see previous post), I must admit I was really tempted to play safe and opt for a cake mix. Usually, I love Hale & Hearty's cake mixes but even though I was running short of time, I opted to do it the hard way and bake from scratch.

I have to say that it could have been a whole lot simpler if I could have managed to bake it without 'Baby' - who these days, being a bit older, is much too vocal and determined for her own good! I had been puzzling over why I hadn't baked much with her recently... setting to work, I soon realised why!

After a fairly extensive search, looking at various gluten and dairyfree recipes, I decided to use a recipe which wasn't either of those. Just by chance, it happened to be another recipe from Delicious Mag, see here.

The main reason I went for it was because it looked simple and I like simple! It was simple - in that pretty much all have to do is just bung all the ingredients in one bowl and mix. Like so:

Don't worry - we didn't do it all by hand!

It was also simple in that it was easy to substitute the dairy products with non-dairy alternatives. We used Pure sunflower margarine instead of butter (which worked well, as it is quite a lot softer than Stork, so was easier to beat), almond milk instead of milk and Hotel Chocolat dark chocolate buttons for the chocolate. Not having the vinegar in the recipe, I just used some white vinegar that I had in the cupboard. 

The other thing I liked about the recipe was that it also involved chocolate - real chocolate! This involved melting. Now, of course, 'Baby' loves chocolate too, and the best way to keep her quiet, I discovered, was to give her a bowl to lick - the one in which I'd melted the chocolate. And she did lick it too - quite literally!

This is not a carefully staged photo - this is what she actually did!

So what did I learn from this one?

Make sure your tin is the right size, before you start (mine wasn't tall enough, so I just made sure the grease proof paper stood taller round the edge of the tin. Which sort of worked.

Looks alright here!

Except this happened:

Oops! Nothing a little judicious trimming can't solve!

Yes... It cracked and burned baby, cracked and burned! So obviously I had to hack the top of the cake off altogether. But the cake needed slicing in half anyway, so this tutorial really came in handy. Only SHE makes it look so smooth, so easy. It aint!! 

Apparently, it's a good idea to leave a cake overnight before trying this - any crusty bits go soft - much easier to cut through! Only I couldn't, 'cos I was strapped for time. Oh, well now I know!

Another thing I discovered was that covering sponge cakes in fondant is a whole lot harder than covering a fruit cake! The fruit cake is a lot more firm, which really helps! Sponge cake moves all over the place. It was a good job I watched this tutorial. Covering the cake with buttercream first definitely helped - hold it together that is! I used Betty Crocker's Buttercream Style icing - it's good stuff! See here!

So, who knew (hands up)? You should always knead regal icing really well to soften it, or it will crack, when you try to lift it it,to place it on the cake. Which happened to me - as you can see in this picture:

The gold colour couldn't cover the cracks!

To be fair, this was going on whilst I was trying to cook dinner and manage a toddler!

I would have lifted the icing off and re-kneaded it... except for the fact that it was now covered in chocolate crumbs and buttercream! I had hoped the icing polisher would do the trick, but it was beyond even its capabilities. So I decided to spray the whole thing gold and hope it would cover the damage, but no! The icing was still cracked - albeit now a fetching shade of gold! 

Loved these products! *

I have to admit, I was bitterly bitterly disappointed!

Instead of following my original plan for decoration (white hearts on gold background) I tried to cover the cake with as much hastily whipped up decoration as I could (with a bit of 'help' from 'Baby'), but still the cracks showed through.

At this stage, I was tempted to ditch the whole chocolate layer altogether, and just stick with the somewhat more classy-looking fruit layer, but... I didn't. I knew the kiddies just wouldn't touch the fruit cake. So I took it anyway, thinking they really wouldn't care if the icing was cracked - they'd be just happy with the chocolate. And, you know I'm glad I did. You see, Family can be ever so forgiving. The Parents were thrilled with the cakes - both of them! Sister Number Two thought I had bought the cakes (what was she thinking???) and the cake which disappeared the fastest?? Yep, the chocolate one!!

Moral of the story: Never underestimate a cracked cake... especially if it's made with chocolate!!

More dairy free baking adventures can be found by following the links on this page.

*I'm not paid, sponsored, endorsed etc. by anyone - all views concerning products are completely and honestly my own!