Little yummy snippets…
Many people who think that they are allergic for dairy are in fact intolerant to lactose, the sugar found in dairy products. Although we do not have problems with lactose we were very impressed with the range of Lactofree products. 3 types of milk, yogurts, cream cheese, dairy spread and cream. The mature cheddar was very good – sharp and fully flavoured, certainly a good enough quality to be enjoyed on its own. If you are lactose intolerant there is no need to feel deprived with this range. Twitter @lactofree
If you have any concerns about being either lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy please seek medical advice from your GP.
We’ve been a fan of Fairfield’s crisps for some time. They are a small family business who produce great crisps – thicnk, crunchy, intensely & naturally flavoured which do not leave you with greasy fingers. New to the range is the Chorizo and Sunblushed Tomato flavour. Really rather good. Twitter @fairfieldsfarm
Special K granola comes in two varities: cranberries, pumpkin seeds and almonds, and raisins and red apples. There’s a good variety of wholegrains in each: oats, barley, wheat, spelt and rye, and the granola clusters are smaller than in some other brands. This makes it particularly useful as a crunchy topping for puddings or yoghurt. Packets are resealable; it’s fruity and cruncy, but like most granolas does contain quite a lot of sugar: 17% by weight. Twitter @MySpecialK_UK
Metcalfe’s skinny make a range of snacking popcorn, we tried a number of different flavours: Sargent salt, sweet ‘n salt, sweet cinnamon spice, chocolate crackle, heat ‘n sweet and wasabi glaze. We particularly liked this last flavour, with a good wasabi kick, while the Sargent salt is named to highlight Metcalfes’ three year sponsorship of CLIC Sargent, the children’s cancer charity. Snacking popcorn is everywhere now; it’s lighter (around 120 Cal per packet)and less greasy than crisps, and Metcalfe’s wide range of flavours will have something for everyone. Twitter @MetcalfesSkinny
I have been a fan of Clearspring’s food for many years. They have relaunched their noodle range and all their noodles are now made in Japan using traditional methods and slowly air dried. To accompany the noodles is a new noodle broth, currently the only organic tsuyu available in the UK. Noodles and broth are well worth a try. Twitter @ClearspringFood
Beautifully packaged, delicious, indulgent, rich puddings and very good indeed. We loved the Banoffee and Chocolate Orange. They also happen to be dairy free, gluten free and also vegan. If you are free from there is no need to miss out on ready made puddings now. Available from many health foods shops as well as Ocado. Twitter @pudology.
More beautifully designed Mt Potato Head themed packaging from Secret Sausages. These are vegetarian sausages packed with vegetables. 3 sausages will give you one of your 5 a day. I am not always keen on meat analogues but did enjoy these. In particular the Linconshire packs a sage punch. Vegan versions of some of the range are coming soon. Twitter @Vegindisguise
The latest addition to the Charbonnel Truffle range which come in those iconic pretty pastle coloured round boxes. Nicely flavoured, without too much banana, and a lovely salty caramel. Think of a banoffee pie with a hint of salt in a caramel. You can also get them from John Lewis. Twitter @charbonnel
the Barber family have been making cheddar on their Somerset farm since 1833. Their vintage reserve has been matured for 24 months and has developed those lovely crystals of calcium lactate, as well as being managing to be delightfully creamy, crumbly and not so sharp that it blows you head off. Perfect to enjoy on its own, or as a special cooking cheese. Twitter @barbers1833.
Taywell No Added Sugar Ice Creams
Award winning Taywell have been making ice cream & sorbet since 2006 and have a myriad of flavours including enticing sounding raspberry pavlova, Kent Cobnut and blood orange and Campari sorbet, as well as a range of Asian flavours (which have gone onto our must sample list). New to the range are the new NOSH – no added sugar flavours – made with the addition of stevia, erythritol and organic agave nectar. We have been enjoying the range – the strawberry is especially lovely and creamy. The trick is to leave it out of the fridge for a good ten minutes to soften before serving otherwise the ice cream seems to shatter. The chocolate flavour is probably the weakest of the range texturally, but all the same very good if you have to follow a low sugar diet. Twitter @taywell_online
Port & Stilton Truffles with Paul A Young
I had the most lovely day off a few weeks ago; a trip to see my friend Kelly’s new house and to have lunch, the Hotel Chocolat Easter press show (more on that later), followed by truffle making workshop with Paul A Young organised by Pinterest and Great British Chefs.
On the surface of it a port and Stilton chocolate truffle sounds so so wrong, but once you try it, it is so so right and I could have happily dived into the bowl of port and Stilton ganache. Absolutely delicious. Pop over to Great British Chefs for the recipe.
Underground Cookery School
I had a very enjoyable evening at the Underground Cookery School a few weeks ago. We chopped, diced, blitzed and cooked ourselves a feast, and it was lovely to catch up with various blogging buddies and to be given a refresher on how to joint a chicken.
Tuition was excellent and you can be as hands on or off as you like. Unlike many cookery schools the emphasis is on team building and for private parties or hen nights. If you do not want to cook then stand and watch your friends do all the hard work whilst sipping champagne, before sitting down to eat the results of your; or everyone else’s, hard work.
The Underground Cookery School is not aimed at the serious home cook, but they have an interesting niche in a busy market place, and I certainly had a fun and delicious evening socialising and catching up with my friends with a little bit of cooking being a bonus enjoyable activity.
Many thanks to all the brands for samples and invitations. All opinions are our own.