Perfectly dairy-free afternoon tea! (DF, LF)

Delicious afternoon tea – all for me!

Apologies for the picture on this one as it isn’t very clear. I hadn’t planned to put this on my blog, but then my partner suggested I did and I thought, why not?

Going for afternoon tea is one of my favourite things to do. Some friends suggested we go in the Easter holidays (we are all teachers) and we picked Dobbies Garden Centre. My friend booked and asked for one of the afternoon teas to be dairy free.

Now, it’s fair to say that I have had my fair share of disappointment when it comes to having my dietary requirements met during afternoon tea. The worst I came across was a Christmas afternoon tea where they gave me a hot cross bun (gluten free) instead of a scone! And scones are my favourite part of afternoon tea! So I was wondering how this one would turn out.

I was pleasantly surprised by my experience and would recommend Dobbies for a lactose free afternoon tea!

There was a good selection of cakes, including a meringue with some kind of dairy free cream (may have been buttercream) and berries, which had obviously been put together especially for me. As you might be able to see, there was also a dairy free millionaires shortbread and a chocolate cake – both delicious. Most importantly, I was provided with scones and jam which were perfect, and not a random hot cross bun in sight! Staff came to ask which sandwiches would be appropriate for me and I had a lovely selection from the fillings I told them I could eat. Soya milk available for my tea as well, which was great as I had forgotten to bring my supply with me on this occasion.

Although I did not ask for a gluten free afternoon tea, I would be confident in asking for this if I needed it due to the care and attention paid to my requirements for dairy free. Often, dairy free/gluten free meals out can feel second rate, but I can say with confidence that it’s not the case here.

So, enjoy a lovely lactose free afternoon tea at Dobbies, complete with delicious scones!

Rating: 5/5

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Happy healthy tummies!

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20180608_1854186579966659891245216.jpg The dairy free of the Yakault world!

Having had IBS for most of my life, one of the things that often gets recommended is probiotics. I am no expert in this at all, but safe to say that the dairy versions of yoghurt drinks containing probiotics are not suitable for me. I’ve tried probiotic capsules, but I find I never keep up with them.

In Sainsburys, I came across Biomel, which is a dairy free probiotic drink, so I thought I would give it a go.

Originally, you could only get plain and dark chocolate, but recently I have tried a salted caramel one, too. Personally, I like the chocolate one best. I wasn’t keen on the plain one and the salted caramel one is a bit sweet for my taste. But at least with a few different flavours in the range you can try them and see which you like best!

I haven’t been using these long enough to know if they are having an effect yet. I bought some recently as I am having some tummy troubles, despite my low fodmap diet and exercise. I would also caution the cost – they are quite expensive and can only be bought individually. However, it is nice to see that us lactose free (and vegan) lovelies are being thought of with our gut health at last! Let’s hope this catches on and more affordable options become available.

Muller corner lactose free (LF)

A few months ago, I saw online that Muller were going to be releasing a lactose free corner yoghurt in Asda, and have been looking for them ever since! On a recent trip to my local Asda, I finally found them, and decided to give them a try. They currently come in a pack of four (see pictures), in two flavours – strawberry and cherry. The two different flavours are a good choice. I follow the FODMAP diet and find cherries are often a problem for me, so strawberry is a perfect alternative choice. You probably can’t see from the photographs, but I do want to point out the great news that these are about the same size as a standard Muller corner, which is not often the case when companies decide to bring out a substitute for the lactase challenged among us!

I was so excited to peel back the lid and see the two compartments of delicious yoghurt and strawberry pieces! I decided not to put the whole lot of strawberry in the yoghurt at once, so that I could try the individual parts of the yoghurt as well as what they were like combined.

This yoghurt is definitely one of the tastiest I have had in a while. As I have mentioned before on this blog, daily yoghurt is one way that I ensure my calcium intake stays up, so I tend to try out a lot of different ones! The yoghurt was everything you would expect from Muller – thick, creamy and delicious. As a lactose free lovely who tends to stick to dairy alternatives (e.g. soya milk), I sometimes find lactose free dairy products to taste too creamy or too ‘animally’ (for want of a better word). I was expecting that with this yoghurt, but it was not the case at all – it just had a lovely taste to it, almost vanilla-like. The strawberry part also had a good flavour – sweet, but not overly so. The flavours went really well together, and the best way I can describe it was like a strawberry split ice cream flavour.

It was so nice to have such a luxury yoghurt for a change, and add something a bit special to my meal, without feeling that I had over indulged. I would completely recommend these. Hopefully Muller will continue to make them and being out a few more flavours, too.

Rating: 5/5

Vegan mac ‘n’ cheese (DF, V, LF, GF)

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Delicious mac ‘n’ cheese without the dairy

This year has been a busy one. I am currently studying and working, splitting my time between two different cities and always backwards and forwards. I like to eat healthily, and due to having food intolerances, I tend to have to cook everything from scratch anyway. However, I have noticed a few more lactose free ready meals creeping onto the market recently. This has been really useful for when I am dashing between one thing and another, and its great to see these new ranges – previously there were a few gluten free, but very few dairy free.

I came across this ready meal in Tesco, and, at first was unsure about whether to give it a go. This, again, comes down to the vegan cheese element! But I am glad I gave it a go, as it turned out to be really tasty. You can cook the ready meal in the microwave or the oven. As I was in a rush, I cooked it in the microwave, which was both quick and easy, as you would expect.

The texture of the sauce was quite thick, which I personally liked, as it gave it a really authentic feel. It was just the right amount of creamy, without being too over powering. The same was true of the cheese flavour. It wasn’t too artificial and had a really good flavour to it for a vegan cheese. In the cheese sauce were little pieces of parsley, which was a fantastic touch. It really added another nice flavour to what could have been considered quite a plain dish.

I think you could use this as a bit of a base for other dishes if you wanted something more, for example, adding vegetables such as sweetcorn or some veggie bacon or veggie ham. Although I haven’t yet tried it, I imagine it would be a nice way to make the meal a little more interesting or substantial. However, on its own, it is still flavoursome and perfect for a quick go-to meal.

So, busy vegans and lactose free lovelies of the world – this is definitely one for you! And great news – Tesco often has an offer on these kind of ready meals, which is pretty rare for dietary requirement foods.

Rating: 5/5

Cheesey vegan bakes (DF, LF, V, GF)

 

Crispbakes with vegan cheese

When I first suspected that I was lactose intolerant, I decided to have a go at giving up dairy to see if it would help.  Back then, there was nowhere near the ever-growing range of dairy free or vegan products on the market.  And as most people will tell you, it is the cheese that you really miss!  Lactose-free dairy products were not a ‘thing’ back then, so it fell to the very few vegan options on the market to satisfy cheese cravings.  I have to say, these were not amazing at the time.  Recently, there has been a lot of new vegan cheese products launched onto the market, and I have decided to be brave and try a few of them!

I saw these on a trip to Sainsbury’s and was surprised to see that they were vegan as well as gluten free – usually these kind of bakes are gluten free, but made with dairy cheese sauce.  These crispbakes are made with potato, vegan cheese and spring onion, covered in gluten free breadcrumbs.

The texture of the crispbake was fantastic.  The outer coating was lovely and crispy, with a soft, melting middle.  Often, the melting properties of vegan cheese are not great, so the fact that this was more of a cheese sauce inside really helped with the texture.

Onto the all important flavour!  On the whole, I was quite impressed with the flavour.  You could taste all the different ingredients, such as the onion, potato, breadcrumbs and all-important cheese.  Together, they made a nice combination.  The cheese itself had quite a strong artificial cheese flavour, almost like you would find in a cheese-based crisp.  It did become a little sickly after a while, but as the crispbakes are not too big, this was not off-putting.  The fact it was an artificial cheese flavour is to be expected, with it not being dairy cheese, and I was pleasantly surprised by it all in all.  I definitely feel that vegan cheese has come a long way from when I first had it all those years ago!

I think it is great that more options are coming onto the market, especially ones which try to create new meal options and improvement of flavours.  Although I can’t say it is exactly like dairy cheese, it is definitely coming along nicely and is worth a try if you fancy something a bit different, that you don’t have to cook yourself from scratch!

Rating: 3/5

 

Refreshing ice cream for a hot day! (DF, V, LF, GF)

 

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Delicious vegan ice cream – coconut and passion fruit Swedish Glace 

We have been blessed with a few hot days recently, so I thought it might be time for another delicious ice cream review.

As I have mentioned before, I am a huge fan of Swedish Glace and recently there have been a few new additions to their range.  This ice cream is one of them, and it was so delicious I had to share it with you.

I purchased the ice cream from Tesco, and it is vegan as well as gluten, dairy and lactose free, so can be enjoyed by all!  Additionally, it is made with coconut, rather than soya (although, please check the ingredients yourself if you are unable to eat soya products).

The fact that the ice cream is made with coconut gives it a different flavour to usual Swedish Glace, or other dairy-free ice creams.  It has a very creamy and refreshing flavour to it.  Although I was a little unsure how the passion fruit would taste with the coconut, I was pleasantly surprised.  The two flavours went well together, and neither flavour over-powered the other.  All in all, it was a refreshing blend. As always with Swedish Glace, the texture was soft and creamy.

When lactase challenged, you often have to miss out on luxury ice creams, such as Carte Dor, and settle for more plain flavours.  The fact that this ice cream had such an exotic flavour combination made it a real treat and gave it a luxurious feel.

I would recommend this ice cream, particularly with summer fruit, such as strawberries.

Rating: 5/5

 

Swedish Glace caramel toffee cones. (DF, V, LF, GF)

What can I say?  I can’t resist an ice cream.  I have always been a lover of ice cream in the summer and I remember enjoying ice cream as a child from the ice cream van, or at the seaside.  As I got older and became diagnosed with lactose intolerance, finding ice cream I could eat became a rare treat, especially when I was first diagnosed, and the market for vegan treats was not as strong as it is today.  It seems that every year, new ice creams for us lactase challenged people are hitting the market, and I, for one, am always at the front of the queue to try them out!!

I came across these decadent cones in Tesco, and thought they would be worth a try, especially as I rate Swedish Glace ice cream in general for its creamy taste.  Although I was initially put off by the price, when I thought about it, I realised that they were not badly priced at all when compared with their cows’ milk counterparts, especially considering dairy free usually equals hilariously expensive!

The quality of the ice creams are totally worth it, anyway.  As can be seen from the picture, they are a chocolate-filled waffle cone (gluten free as well, bonus points), filled with toffee-flavoured ice cream and a caramel sauce centre.  The top of the ice cream is covered in a nice layer of dark chocolate.  The flavours go so well together, and the toffee ice cream has a lovely taste to it.  The sauce inside is quite generous, and adds another texture and flavour, as well as a bit more sweetness to it.  Even thought the cone is gluten free, it still tastes good, and for those who are not gluten free, you would not notice that this is a substitute.  I was quite pleased with the size of the ice cream, too, as often dairy free ones can be a bit on the small size, but there is enough here to satisfy a sweet tooth.

These also come in a strawberry flavour, with vanilla ice cream and a strawberry sauce.  This flavour it also nice, but personally, I prefer the toffee ones.

A perfect summer treat, and hopefully one that is here to stay!

Rating: 5/5