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The Gluten Free Veggie

Gluten Free and Vegetarian Recipes, Reviews and Information

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Product Review

Product Review | Supermarket vs. Brand

If you’ve been gluten free for a while you may have noticed that some supermarket own brand Free From products often mimic the branded version. I’ve compared them for you so you can see whether the branded version is worth the extra money.

Even before I was diagnosed Coeliac our household food shopping budget was tight and so I’ve always been an advocate of supermarket own brand versions of branded products. There is no shame in  foregoing brands and supermarket versions are often nicer than the original. That being said, when it comes to Free From supermarket own brand products the quality can be very hit and miss. Here are a few comparisons and my opinions. Everyone has different tastes so I’d recommend trying the supermarket own brand versions yourself if you are trying to decrease your outgoings.

  1. Mrs Crimbles Cheese Cheese Crackers versus Marks and Spencer’s Cheese Crackers

These crackers are almost identical in look but the ingredients vary slightly.

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M and S tends to be a bit pricier, even when compared to brands, but I would always choose the M and S crackers over Mrs Crimbles for one reason – this:

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Every box of Mrs Crimbles cheese crackers that I have bought has been 50% broken. M and S’s cheese crackers have always been whole with very little crumbling. I think the price difference should not be an issue with this product.

Brand Price: £1.75

Supermarket Price: Currently Unknown

WINNER: Supermarket!

 

2. Prewett’s Triple Chocolate Cookies versus Tesco Free From

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I’m a big fan of Prewett’s in general (see my review here) but when it comes to this product I think the supermarket own brand version (in particular Tesco’s, but Sainsbury’s and ASDA make their own versions too) are pretty good competition. Prewett’s make speciality gluten free biscuits and they are heavenly, but when it comes to this product, the supermarket own brand version is cheaper and the difference in taste is not that big. Sorry Prewett’s but Tesco win this battle!

Brand Price: £2.29

Supermarket Price: £1.80

WINNER: Supermarket!

 

3. ASDA Free From Penne versus Dove’s Farm Gluten Free Organic Penne

Dove’s Farm are well known for creating quality gluten free flour but when it comes to pasta I don’t think they are the best product on the market. Both of these products are made from the same base ingredients – rice and corn flours – yet the difference in price is astronomical. At 500g each the price difference is over a pound and all for the label of “organic”. I’ve found Dove’ Farm to be a temperamental pasta to cook anyway – the ASDA own brand is much more consistent.

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Dove’s Farm Penne

This is definitely a supermarket versus brand where the supermarket triumphs. 107443

This is one swap where the budget won’t leave you feeling

 

unsatisfied.

Brand Price: £2.50

Supermarket Price: £1.35

WINNER: Supermarket!

 

4. Genius Bread versus Tesco Free From Bread

Gluten free bread is always quite hit and miss – some brands are quite unlike the original (sorry BFree, wasn’t keen! – but don’t forget they are GF and suitable for vegans) and it can take some time to find one you like.

Genius (3)

Genius get a bad reputation because their slices are known to be full of holes or falling apart (read more about Genius bread here) but compared to supermarket own brand breads I always choose Genius. The taste and texture is always far superior and Genius seems to go off much slower than other brands. It is more expensive, of course, but for this product I think it’s worth it.

Brand Price: £2.70

Supermarket Price: £2.00

WINNER: Brand!

 

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Recipes every Monday, blog posts every Friday! See the previous Monday’s recipe here.

Social Media:

Youtube: The Gluten Free Veggie – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-b7T1VFTZqYq15aPvdlNwA

Twitter: @theGFveggie

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E-mail your questions or suggestions to: glutenfreeveggieblog@gmail.com

 

 

 

Coeliac Awareness Week | Product Review | Pots & Co.

Pots & Co. make several gluten free dessert pots many of which are gluten free. I was lucky enough to find some in my local Tesco. I picked up the Salted Caramel and the Chocolate Orange to give them a whirl!

Salted Caramel

This really is what it says on the pot – a layer of creamy chocolate ganache with a salty kick. This one is perfect for those of you who are more into savoury flavours than sweet as the salted caramel balances out the sweeter flavour of the chocolate. Whilst this isn’t my favourite flavour of dessert in general, this pot is luxurious and creamy enough to make me want to buy it again!

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Chocolate Orange

This is by far my favourite of the two. Creamy, decadent and impossibly smooth chocolate ganache with a zesty hint of orange. This flavour combination is always a winner for me but especially so with this pot. I’m gushing praise for this product – it’s reminiscent of restaurant desserts that I had before diagnosis. My only criticism would be that it is a little small for the price but both come in reusable ceramic dishes so this is reflected in the price.

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I would buy both of these again and would be excited to try other gluten free flavours such as Chocolate and Roasted Hazelnut and Chocolate and Vanilla (should my local supermarkets start to stock them).

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For those of you who do not like chocolate but still want something sweet they also make fruit flavours such as Mango, Lime & Coconut and Rhubarb & Custard. If you are looking for a gluten free alternative to puddings like GU then these are definitely the right choice!

Product Review | Prewett’s Biscuits

Prewett’s make a range of delicious gluten free biscuits. You can see my live taste test video on my Youtube, here.

Milk Chocolate Digestives

These chocolatey snacks are so moreish that it didn’t take my boyfriend and I long to polish them off! They are the perfect addition to any cup of tea or hot chocolate. Whilst they lack the very crumbly textures that gluten containing digestives tend to have, their consistency is perfect for dunking.

★★★★★

5 out of 5 stars for absolutely delicious and moreish biscuits.

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Chocoful Bars

These are another winner. Not only chocolatey and delicious, they are individually wrapped, making them perfect for lunch boxes.

★★★★★

5 out of 5 stars for delicious and portable chocolate biscuits. These were both mine and my boyfriend’s overall favourite.

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White Chocolate and Cranberry

For those who prefer a lighter taste, the zingy cranberries and smooth white chocolate in these cookie style biscuits make a welcome change from milk chocolate. I would have preferred raspberries to cranberries (which is purely a matter of personal taste rather than a comment on flavour balances) but the fruit and white chocolate combination works wonderfully.

★★★★☆

4 out of 5 stars for light and chewy cookie style biscuits. We reserved 5 stars for our absolute favourites but these were up there.

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Jammy Wheels

If you were a Jammy Dodger fan before diagnosis these are definitely the biscuit for you. They have the same texture, the same delicate jam taste. These are so reminiscent of the original that I think you could easily fool non-Coeliacs.

★★★★★

5 out of 5 stars for an uncanny substitute for a gluten containing favourite. I have nothing but praise for this product.

 

If you want the chance to win some of Prewett’s yummy products you can enter my giveaway (closes Monday 8th May 2017) by following the instructions outlined on this blog post.

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Recipes every Monday, blog posts every Friday! See Monday’s recipe here.

Social Media:

Youtube: The Gluten Free Veggie – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-b7T1VFTZqYq15aPvdlNwA

Twitter: @theGFveggie

Tumblr: glutenfreeveggie.tumblr.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theGFveggie

E-mail your questions or suggestions to: glutenfreeveggieblog@gmail.com

 

Product Review | Nature’s Path Cereals

Nature’s Path are a gluten free cereal brand. They make many flavours, some of which imitate your pre-diagnosis favourites! Check out my Youtube live taste test to see what our first impressions were!

Berry Granola

This granola has oat clusters, a mix of freeze dried berries and yoghurt chips. Having never had “normal” granola before my diagnosis, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s safe to say that I thought it was delicious. These cereals are not overly sugary and this one especially was packed with flavours. The texture varied between the crunchy oats and soft yoghurt chips which made a nice change from other cereals. I would definitely buy this again.

★★★★☆

4 out of 5 stars for a delicious alternative to normal cereals. I would have liked to see a wider range of granola flavours – a chocolate and berry one would be amazing.

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Os

This cereal is a clear substitute for gluten containing brand Cheerio’s and I think it succeeds very well if this was its aim was to replicate this. I would however say that this is one of their plainer cereals – if you like stronger flavours this probably isn’t the cereal for you.

★★★☆☆

3 out of 5 stars for a good replica of Cheerios which can be a little lacking in flavour for my taste.

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Crispy Rice

Again this cereal is filling the role that Rice Crispies play in the “normal” market. I think these have a very satisfying texture and made fantastic rice crispy cakes for my Easter recipe. Again, this is a plainer tasting cereal compared to the granola, but if you liked Rice Crispies before diagnosis, these will be perfect for you.

★★★☆☆

3 out of 5 stars again for a convincing Rice Crispies substitute which just needed an extra boost to become something I would buy again.

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Chocomunch

This cereal is by far my favourite. I’m some what of a chocolate addict which makes me favour this cereal over the others. It should be noted that this cereal – whilst undeniably chocolatey and a perfect replacement for Nesquik’s cereals – is not much higher in calories or sugar than their other cereals. For example, Chocomunch contains 138 kcal and 12g of sugar per serving, whilst Crispy Rice is 260 kcal and 9.6g of sugar and the Os are 120 kcal and 3.9g of sugar. It still tastes just like the chocolatey children’s cereals I loved!

★★★★★

5 out of 5 stars for my all time favourite gluten free cereal. Enough said I think.

Choc Chip Granola Bars

These are another winner for me. Firstly, they are delicious – not overly sweet again but with the right level of chocolatey goodness and oaty texture. Secondly, they are individually wrapped and so make the ideal snack to take travelling or to university or school.

★★★★★

5 out of 5 stars for a delicious portable snack.

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Check out how you can win some yummy Nature’s Path goodies here (deadline 8th May 2017)

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Recipes every Monday, blog posts every Friday! See Monday’s recipe here.

Social Media:

Youtube: The Gluten Free Veggie – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-b7T1VFTZqYq15aPvdlNwA

Twitter: @theGFveggie

Tumblr: glutenfreeveggie.tumblr.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theGFveggie

E-mail your questions or suggestions to: glutenfreeveggieblog@gmail.com

 

Product Review | Propercorn popcorn

Please read to the end of my review for my conclusion and star rating.

I love popcorn! There are lots of brands/supermarket own brands that are suitable for Coeliacs – popcorn is of course naturally gluten free anyway – but Propercorn is my favourite. They have several flavours to chose from and their gluten free and vegan flavours are very clearly labelled on the back so you have nothing to worry about!

All six of their popcorn flavours are gluten and wheat free and five are vegan:

Sweet Vanilla and Coconut

Sweet and Salty

Fiery Worcester Sauce and Sundried Tomato

Sour Cream and Black Pepper (not suitable for vegans)

Lightly Sea Salted

Smooth Peanut and Almond

My local Waitrose only stocks two flavours but I have had most of them at one time or another and they are all incredible.

The thing that always hits me the most about this product is just how flavourful each piece is – I never thought that popcorn could be so tasty! Cinema popcorn was always a bit dull and involved too much chewing for my liking, so my first expectation for this product was that it would be the same. I was pleasantly surprised and happy to be proven wrong when I first picked up a bag of the Sour Cream and Black Pepper a few years ago.

My absolute favourite flavour is the Peanut and Almond – the taste is unparalleled by any popcorn I’ve ever had. It’s sweet but salty, smooth but with a nutty taste and most importantly for me, doesn’t have an overpowering peanut taste. I am one of those weird people that really doesn’t like peanut butter – I will eat cashew butter all day long, but I peanut butter is rather cloying and has a very overpowering taste. As a result I was sceptical to try this flavour but now it’s my firm favourite! The almond balances out the peanut perfectly.

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Sweet and salty popcorn is something I had never tried before finding this product. I never used to like salty popcorn as it made me drink a lot but this flavour works really well. Including both sweet and salty means you don’t get bored of the flavour like I used to with salty popcorn.

★★★★★

5 out of 5 stars for a product that I can’t really fault. Propercorn if you’re reading this, you’ve done a brilliant job with making gluten free and veggie popcorn flavours and I can’t wait to see what other flavours you might produce in the future!

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Recipes every Monday, blog posts every Friday! See Monday’s recipe here.

Social Media:

Youtube: The Gluten Free Veggie – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-b7T1VFTZqYq15aPvdlNwA

Twitter: @theGFveggie

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theGFveggie

E-mail your questions or suggestions to: glutenfreeveggieblog@gmail.com

Product Review | Genius “Toastie” Loaf

Please read to the end of my review for my conclusion and star rating.

 

Previously, I reviewed Genius’ new recipe loaf with mixed opinions. I then spoke to a Genius representative on the phone and posted this update. I was excited to see that another loaf has been added to Genius’ collection of products – the “Toastie” loaf. I decided to review it to see how this loaf compares to their other three loaves – white, brown and seeded.

I can see why Genius have created a new loaf. Other gluten free companies have recently started to branch into fresh bread (see my review of Newburn Bakehouse’s Fresh Artisan Loaf, for example). Once Genius held an oligopoly on the gluten free bread market in Britain – this has all changed in recent years with European competitors Schar starting to dominate the bakery goods in the Free From aisle. It seems that Genius are trying to find a niche in the gluten free bread market with their “Toastie” loaf, and that should be commended.

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It is important first of all to highlight that the “Toastie” loaf is more expensive than their normal white loaf – £2.60 compared to £2.50, which might only be 10p difference but it’s worth taking note if you are on a tight budget like myself.

The first noticeable difference between this loaf and Genius’ other loaves is the shape – the “Toastie” loaf has a recognisably square shape. The crusts are lighter in colour and the loaf looks a little more like the classic gluten filled sliced white bread that we all remember.

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I tested this product is several ways – toast, sandwiches and, as the name demands, a toastie. This loaf still has the usual structural problem that Coeliacs have gotten used to with Genius products – two of the slices in my loaf fell apart and were unusable, which is better than some people’s experience of this product.

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Despite this I have nothing bad to say about this loaf – but I also don’t really have anything good to say either. I’m disappointed to say that I can’t find any difference other than looks between Genius’ “Toastie” loaf and their other loaves. The taste is the same, the texture is the same and the usability is the same. For 10p extra, I can’t find any reason to buy this over the other loaves. This isn’t to say that the loaf isn’t nice, it just is almost identical to their existing products!

As I said above, I can’t see any real reason to buy this product over Genius’ other loaves, unless looks factor into your buying decisions. That’s the real reason for my star rating, but the quality of the product is fairly identical to their other bread.

★★★☆☆

3 out of 5 stars for a frankly disappointing loaf that doesn’t seem to differ in function or taste from Genius’ other loaves.

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My reviews are from my own experience of the product or eatery and are honest. I am not sponsored by any companies and I write my opinions based on individual merit. I do not print retractions but I will post updates if and when new information comes to light.

 

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Recipes every Monday, blog posts every Friday! See Monday’s recipe here.

Social Media:

Youtube: The Gluten Free Veggie – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-b7T1VFTZqYq15aPvdlNwA

Twitter: @theGFveggie

Tumblr: glutenfreeveggie.tumblr.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theGFveggie

E-mail your questions or suggestions to: glutenfreeveggieblog@gmail.com

Product Review | Newburn Bakehouse Artisan Bread

Please read to the end of my review for my conclusion and star rating.

I always try to be as honest as possible in my reviews, so I have mixed things to report about this loaf.

Firstly, I was delighted to find fresh gluten free bread in a normal supermarket. There were three from this brand offered in my local Sainsbury’s, two sourdough types and this one.

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I was curious to try it toasted first, and so I opted for butter and yeast extract (ASDA’s own brand is gluten free). The taste was fantastic – just like “real” bread. The crusts especially were sturdy and had that recognisable toasty taste that is sometimes lacking in pre-sliced gluten free bread.

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Untoasted this bread was a equally pleasing – no holes or structural weakness but also not too close or doughy. It did have a slight aftertaste (not necessarily unpleasant) that I expect was only noticeable because my tastebuds have become too used to the hideously processed taste of the pre-sliced brands.

Secondly, I have to report a rather converse view on this bread – from my stomach! Having IBS means that sometimes things just don’t agree. I feel I have to be honest in case those of you with IBS want to try this bread – it did trigger my IBS unfortunately. This is likely due to it being high in fibre, and because of the psyllium husk (see “Vegetable Fibre [Psylium]” in the ingredients below) this bread was always going to be a risk for me. It’s a shame but I think I will try it again at some point.

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I don’t think it’s effect on my IBS should necessarily impact on this bread’s reputation as a gluten free product – it’s certainly the highest quality gluten free bread that I’ve found in a supermarket but I have to include my experience as a warning to those of you with IBS like me.

★★★★☆

4 out of 5 stars for delicious and fluffy fresh gluten free bread, but a potential risk food for those of us with IBS. I would recommend this as a bread product for any Coeliac.

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Product Review | Evexia Thrive Tortelloni

Please read to the end of my review for my conclusion and star rating.

Gluten free filled pasta is in itself a rarity. Gluten free vegetarian filled pasta is even rarer.

You can imagine my joy when this product came out – not only is it gluten free and both flavours are suitable for vegetarians, but Evexia Thrive’s products also contain no onion or garlic, making them suitable for those of us who can’t eat alliums (due to IBS in my case).

Whilst thrilled to get my hands on these beauties I, as always, withheld my judgement until tasting. I’ve found that gluten free equivalents of dinner favourites are often a disappointment – they just can’t live up to the romanticised memory we have of them from before diagnosis.

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This product is an exception to the rule. The pasta cooks just like “normal” pasta – light and delicate in texture and flavour. The fillings are creamy and take advantage of delicious classic flavour combinations – Spinach and Ricotta and Tomato and Mozzarella.

The cooking instructions say to simmer for 1 minute – after over cooking it twice I suggest to anyone cooking to follow that instruction to the second! You only need to cook this pasta for a minute more than instructed before it starts to come apart and leak it’s filling, as you can see from my first attempt here!

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Such a short cooking time makes this the perfect quick dinner – simply heat up a sauce, simmer the tortelloni, drain and add the tortelloni to the sauce.

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Spinach and Ricotta filled pasta was my absolute favourite meal as a child. Being able to eat it again was nothing short of a dream. I struggle to find anything to criticise with this product – any Coeliac craving filled pasta will be delighted to be able to have this for dinner. My only advice would be to be warned about the cooking time – you cannot take your eye off of it or it will begin to fall apart.

★★★★★

5 out of 5 stars for a delicious equivalent to a classic Italian dish. I would highly recommend this to anyone.

Find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EvexiaThrive/?fref=ts

Buy these products from Sainsbury’s here and here

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Product Review | Silly Yak Ready to Roll Gluten Free Pastry

Please read the entire review to see my star rating and overall conclusion.

Tesco are stocking this new ready to roll, chilled pastry and it’s wonderful! You can use it for sweet or savoury and it’s easy to use.

I’m not the most accomplished baker, but I managed to make a pie, some pasties, cheese straws and sweet pastry swirls with my block.

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Pictured above is my mushroom, cheddar, green pesto and pine nut pie, which isn’t very neat but was very tasty! I made several of these and froze them for later – they reheated perfectly!

The pastry once cooked is flakey and buttery, perfectly mimicking gluten-filled puff pastry. It’s fairly easy to roll out and doesn’t fall apart quite like other gluten free ready to roll pastries (such as Genius’ frozen one which is near impossible to work with sometimes!). I’ve found the pastry works much better if you handle it less – it seems the more you knead or roll it out, the more flimsy it becomes.

My only issue with it would be that you can’t freeze it before cooking and it has a very short shelf life in the fridge so it would be very useful to put it in the freezer and defrost it at a later date. However, you can make pies etc, cook them and then freeze them (I asked the companies themselves and they confirmed this).

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

4 out of 5 stars.

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