Something special for Christmas Day

Looking for a delicious alternative to Christmas pud on Christmas day? Love chocolate orange? Read on!

This Just Love vegan cake is a Terry’s chocolate orange lover’s dream! Not only that, just look at the beautiful presentation. The snowflakes and gold chocolate buttons make this cake a perfect centrepiece.

As you can see, the cake is covered with a layer of chocolate orange icing. There is no scrimping here, with it extending all the way around the sides as well as the top. It isn’t a thick layer, but is just the right amount. Inside, is yet more chocolate orange, with the cake being this flavour, too. The cake is lovely and moist and has a nice, light texture to it.

The flavour is quite rich, as you can imagine with the double chocolate orange! But this isn’t a bad thing. It just means that you can have a smaller slice – more to share with guests (or just a longer lasting treat if you are planning not to share).

Either way, if you are looking for a lactose free lovely dessert and are a chocolate lover, why not give it a try?

Purchased from: Tesco
Rating: 5/5


Vegan Galaxy for Christmas?

If a nice big box of choccies is too much, or you are just after a smaller, stocking filler gift, then Galaxy’s vegan range is a good place to go. One bar in particular is the stand-out of the collection for me – Crumbled Cookie. I found this whilst on a trip to the all-new vegan aisle in Asda.

I will say straight away that if you are looking for this to taste exactly like a dairy bar of Galaxy, then you might be disappointed. Having said that, once you have got over that, I think you will appreciate the taste and texture of the chocolate they have created.

I always remember dairy Galaxy bars as being slightly more on the luxurious side of the chocolate continuum, and they have clearly worked hard to make sure this dairy free version is, too. It has a very silky, creamy texture to it, with lovely crunchy gluten free chocolate cookie pieces studded throughout.

The chocolate itself has a very nice flavour, too. Rich and not too sweet. It definitely has the taste of a dairy free ‘milk’ chocolate rather than dark chocolate. So good news if you still crave milk chocolate or prefer it to dark. It also has quite a nice hazelnut flavour to it, which seems to add to the creaminess.

It’s really good to get some more variety in the chocolate market, as dairy free chocolate has always been a bit plain in the past. As time goes on, it seems more and more companies are getting on board, which I think is good news for us lactase challenged chocoholics.

So, if you are looking for a luxurious chocolate-based stocking filler with a reasonable price tag, I would definitely recommend giving this one a try.

Purchased from: Asda

Rating: 5/5

Christmas is coming…vegan treats from Hotel Chocolat

Well, it is that time of year when you start to think about gifts for loved ones. Vegan or dairy free gifting is just getting better and better every year, but if you are still stuck for what to get the lactose free lovely in your life, look no further! I aim to bring some dairy free sparkle to Lockdown 2.0 and your Christmas gifting.

I was very excited when Hotel Chocolat announced it would be bringing out a box of chocolates. So excited I pre-ordered a box to try! In the dairy free gifting world, a good old fashioned mixed box of chocolates is a rare find indeed. Hotel Chocolat do have quite a few vegan chocolate specials throughout the year, but I hope this is one that will stay.

These come as an ‘H-box’ which is a smaller selection, or a ‘Sleekster’ which is a much bigger collection (that hopefully Santa will bring me, if he is not in quarantine). One important point to note is that both cost the same price as their dairy counterparts – regular followers of my blog will know this is something I am passionate about advocating for. Although the H-box is a smaller version, I don’t think it is possible to be disappointed with the selection and variety here.

Contained in the H-box are the following chocolate delights:

  • Simple Nutmilk
  • Pecan and Nutmilk
  • Salted caramel and Nutmilk
  • Raspberry and Nutmilk
  • Gianduja Bombe
  • 45% Nutmilk Baton
  • Ornage and Nutmilk Baton
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter and Nutmilk Buche

As you can see, this box of chocolates is very much part of the growing Nutmilk range, which creates a lovely creamy taste and texture without the dairy aspects of actual cream. Can you taste it? Yes, you can. But I would say on the whole it is subtle and goes well with all the flavours. My only slight disappointment would be the salted caramel, as I think this is the least perfect match. But, by no means is it inedible.

One of the other amazing things about this vegan H-box is the sheer differences in texture between the chocolates – definitely something I miss from having a box of chocolates before I found out I was lactose intolerant. The caramel is probably the closest in texture to ‘real’ caramel – smooth and flowing from the centre. In fact, I would say they have got it spot on. You also have the more truffle-like texture of the pecan and the gianduja bombe. The batons are pure, solid, silky-smooth chocolate and the buche brings some crunch to proceedings. I think the different textures are one of my favourite things about the collection.

Any problems with this amazing box of chocs? Only one. They won’t be around the house for long! I would definitely recommend treating the lactose free lovely in your life to a box of these for Christmas.

Rating – 5/5

Rocky Road! (V, DF, LF)

Vegan rocky road

Happy Veganuary! Being lactose intolerant, I absolutely love that more and more places get on board with Veganuary and vegan food more generally as it means more options when eating out. It’s a shame that lots of vegan products don’t make it past Veganuary, so I’m trying to try out a few and blog about them before they disappear. (Any excuse!)

Today, I decided to treat myself to lunch out, with it being a Friday and having being dieting recently. Everyone needs a treat now and then! Costa is really close to my workplace so I decided to pop along to see what was on offer.

I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have the vegan toastie that has been advertised but they did have this delicious rocky road.

One little warning – it is very sickly! But that never stops me and I did manage the whole thing, despite it being quite large. As regular readers of my blog will know, full-sized lactose free lovelies always get bonus points with me, as so often they are much smaller than their dairy counter parts.

The rocky road contained plenty of biscuit pieces, vegan marshmallows and raisins. Despite its lack of dairy, there was no lack of chocolate flavour. It had a very rich, creamy chocolate flavour to it and the fact it was nice and chunky gave it a great texture and chocolate hit. I loved the combination of this with the biscuit crunch. Although us lactose intolerants don’t need to avoid marshmallows, I think the inclusion of vegan marshmallows makes this a really good option for vegans seeking a sweet treat. The ones on this rocky road were really well made, with a nice soft texture and sweet taste.

All in all, this was a well thought-out and delicious product, which I would fully recommend! Sometimes, vegan/dairy free options can feel as though they are a poor cousin to their dairy counterparts, but this is definitely not the case here. Absolutely perfect for my Friday lunch time treat.

And all dairy free milk is currently free at Costa!

Rating – 5/5

Vegan Gu – but actually! (V, LF, DF, GF)

If you have been a follower of my blog for a while (thanks, wonderful people!), you will know that I am always finding substitutes for tasty Gu products. But now, Gu themselves have finally decided to give it a go and create a dairy free version for us lactose free lovelies and vegans.

I am glad they have taken time to get this right, as I had high expectations for this pud. Luckily, it lived up to all of them!

Cheesecake has always been a favourite dessert of mine and I do miss it since I have had to ditch dairy. This chocolate and vanilla version is spot on.

Whilst the cheesecake is made of a coconut cream substitute, it doesn’t taste overly coconut flavoured. The chocolate layer is lovely and thick, and works really well with the creamy layer underneath. As well as being vegan, the cheesecake is gluten free. The biscuit base has quite a buttery taste to it, but is probably more crumbly than you would normally expect in a cheesecake. However, still delicious, so no complaints here!

I’m also pleased to note that the Gu pots are the same size as a regular version, so no missing out. Its the perfect size, as quite rich and indulgent, as you would expect from our friends at Gu.

Here is hoping they bring out some more lactose free lovelies soon!

Rating: 5/5

Spotlight on…Oatly! (V, LF, DF)

It’s been a while since I featured one brand and their lovely lactose free products. Oatly have been around for a while, but I have only recently started using their products more regularly and have been really impressed.

My partner and I often adapt recipes to make them FODMAP friendly in order to still get a good variety. We found a new pasta recipe recently which called for creme fraiche. Unfortunately, I cannot tolerate this at all! Luckily, my local Tesco store had the Oatly version and we decided to give it a try. It was perfect for what we needed. The flavour is very close to dairy creme fraiche, if anything a little less sharp, which in my opinion is no bad thing! It has a lovely creamy consistency and is a dream to cook with – no curdling or any change to texture and taste.

As I have fallen in love with this, I decided to try a few other products from the range and see if they were as good. So far, I have not been disappointed. I have tried their vanilla custard, single cream and skinny milk. Here is a small round up of my thoughts.

Vanilla custard

This one isn’t pictured as I already used it all! But the carton size is about the same size as the cream and it is kept in the fridge. Personally, I think the size is perfect as I tend to be the only one eating it. I love lots of custard on my puddings but still struggle to get through larger cartons before they go off. This one is a perfect size for me. The flavour is lovely and creamy, not too sweet or over-powering. A great accompaniment to any crumble or pie!

Single cream

I haven’t tried this for a full range of uses yet, for example, as a cooking ingredient, so I cannot comment on some aspects of it. However, I have tried it on my crumble (yes, there is a theme to my blogs!!) and it was lovely. This is now my new favourite. Although the texture isn’t very thick, it is a single cream rather than double so it can be forgiven that. It has a nice subtle flavour to it, but still has that creaminess you would want.

Skinny milk

I had no idea that Oatly did a whole range of milk! I just assumed there would be one kind. Generally, I use Alpro soya and choose the light one, which is really low in calories, so I was pleased to see an equivalent in this range. As I am not a great lover of the flavour of milk, it is not something I would ever drink on it’s own – I tend to use it in tea, coffee or cooking. This Oatly skinny milk went really well in my tea, with a nice creamy taste. There is a difference in flavour between this and soya milk, so if you don’t love soya, it might be worth giving this a go. I found it a bit temperamental in coffee, sometimes curdling, but I have this problem with soya, too, so this is no drama for me, but could be if you are a heavy coffee drinker.

All in all, I’m really impressed with this range, and will definitely be trying out any new products I spot!

Rating: 5/5

Puddings and sweet treats galore! (V, LF, DF, GF)

Check out this lactose free lovely! A vegan hot chocolate made with oat milk and topped with soya whipped cream.

Today I met up with my friend in Nottingham for lunch. We then decided a dessert was required and decided to visit The Pudding Pantry.

I have been here a few times, and the range of lactose and dairy free goodies seems to grow each time. It has a very relaxed atmosphere and serves a range of light snacks, brunch, hot and cold drinks and puddings. Not everything is dairy or gluten free, but as I have already mentioned, there is a solid range.

This is my fully vegan dessert – a Biscoff gateau accompanied by vegan peanut butter and choc chip ice cream. As you can see, the portions of both are generous, and I couldn’t finish it, even though it was delicious! I think having this alongside the hot chocolate might have been a little too ambitious! I love the pretty china that is is served on as well.

My friend chose a banana sticky toffee pudding which was also vegan.

He said it was delicious, which is also a good endorsement from someone who does not intentionally avoid dairy. I thought I would include a picture even though I did not try it to illustrate the range available.

Neither of our desserts were gluten free, but there were gluten free options available, so something for everyone! Both soya and oat milk alternatives were available.

I shall definitely be visiting again…but maybe this time I will have to try and not cram in everything on the menu!!

Rating: 5/5

Happy healthy tummies!


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.

Vegan mac ‘n’ cheese (DF, V, LF, GF)

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