Fuss Free Nibbles – March 2014

Little yummy snippets…

LactofreeLactofree

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.

Fairfields CrispsFairfields Farm Crisps

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 granolaSpecial K Granola

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

Metcalfs popcornMetcalfe’s Skinny Popcorn

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

Clearspring Noodle brothClearspring Organic

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

PudologyPudology

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.

secret sausagesSecret Sausages

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

Charbonnel Walker Sea Salt Banana TrufflesCharbonnel & Walker Sea Salt Banana Caramel Truffles

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

Barbers cheddarBarber’s 1833 Cheddar

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

 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

Port and Stilton TrufflesI 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

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.

 

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About Helen

Helen Best-Shaw is a freelance writer, who has been writing about achievable and affordable food on Fuss Free Flavours since 2007. She also contributes articles and recipes to a number of online and print food magazines.

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Comments

  1. I should really try the full range of lactofree products. We buy the milk when we go camping to save room on storing regular milk & soya milk in our tiny caravan fridge, but don’t think I’ve tried anything else in the range. I think I was just so glad to finally be out of pain when I gave up dairy that I was happy to go without!
    Janie x
    PS Love the Secret Sausages packaging too, it is so cute!

    • I was very very impressed with the range, especially the cheese. You know they do little mini UHT cartons of the milk so you can carry them around in your handbag for coffee and tea out?

  2. Wow! you’ve been busy :-) That pudology looks awesome!

  3. Heidi Roberts says:

    Lots of goodies there Helen!

  4. I’m loving the pudology and the veggie sausages!

  5. Skinny Popcorn and dairy free ,vegan and gluten free Pudology – yes please !

  6. They all seems rather fab – I think I want the popcorn, clearspring organics broth and charbonnel truffles.

  7. What a lovely selection of nibbles.

  8. A great selection of goodies there Helen. I’m very interested in the secret sausages as a decent tasty veggie banger is quite hard to find. The crisps sound lush too!

  9. I love the popcorn. They send me a box each month and I am obsessed with the wasabi flavour. I practically grab it from the postman haha.

  10. Oh, the pudology looks lush!

  11. The banana truffles sound grand and the Paul A Young workshop was another one I was sad to miss. Much as I’d hate to live away from Cornwall again, it does have the odd disadvantage. Have been meaning to try making blue cheese truffles for at least five years, so this would have been perfect.

  12. Sea salt and banana truffle and noodle broth looks interesting. I’ve tried lacto free yogurts and latte with their milk, it’s quite nice I must say ;)

  13. Love nibbles and starters. I always prefer them to the mains. Charbonnel and Walker chocs are irresistible

  14. I love looking at all these brands that are so different from what we have over here.

  15. Great round up of lovely food. Some really interesting things there too. I’ve never seen a ready made noodle broth, that’s one worth seeking out. GG

  16. Some great products going on here! The vegan sausages really grabbed my attention, as did the no added sugar ice creams and the LactoFree products…need to start looking around as I’m convinced my wee three year old is intolerant. And I’d LOVE to try the Port & Stilton Truffles, I have a sneeky suspicion I’d love them!.

    • the Lactofree website has some great tips for an exclusion diet Lou. Fingers crossed that if it is an intolerence they will grow out of it, dairy seems to sneak into everything.

  17. Great selection of products. The chocolate workshop sounds like a lot of fun but I’m not sure about the port and Stilton chocolate truffles. Those puddings sound tasty too.

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