Thursday, 27 July 2017
It's mighty difficult to find a good quality dairy free ice cream, I've tried so many, but one that caught my eye recently in a local health food store was the brand Coconuts Naturally, aka The Cornish Coconut Company. They produce organic, dairy free vegan ice cream in 6 different flavours: rich Raw Chocolate, indulgent Coconut Caramel, Mint Choc Chip- peppermint oil and spirulina for an amazing green colour, sumptuous Strawberry, Creamy Coconut and their new addition, boozy Rum and Raisin.
The Salted Caramel one was out of stock so I made do with Rum & Raisin, which cost £7. Yes, it's not cheap! But considering how hard it is to find good coconut ice cream I thought it would be worth the price.
The ingredients consist of unrefined organic coconut sugar, coconut cream, raisins and rum flavouring.
I was concerned the rum might be too much in ice cream, as it can often taste artificial but there was no fear of that here - it tasted like the real deal, and was rather boozy indeed! The texture of the ice cream was somewhat sorbet like, but much thicker and creamier than most coconut ice creams. The raisins added a nice chew, making for an unmistakable rum and raisin experience. To be honest, as nice as this was I did find it a little bit too much! It's very rich and you don't need a lot to satisfy a dessert craving.
Overall, this is a fantastic coconut ice cream, but I'm not sure I would buy this variety again. I really want to try the Salted Caramel to see how it compares - fingers crossed they have it in next time I visit. If you're vegan or dairy free and seeking out an indulgent dessert, definitely keep an eye out for Coconuts Naturally!
8.5 out of 10.
Monday, 24 July 2017
Today's review is something a bit different, not a snack as such but a sweetener that is fast becoming popular amongst the low carb, keto diet crowd. I've experimented on and off with low carb and sugar free diets and tried a variety of different sweeteners, such as stevia and eryhtritol, but I chose this one as it supposedly bakes like brown sugar. It's even been awarded "superior tasting natural sweetener" by America's top chefs.
It's based on an ancient sacred fruit, but rather than explain I'll copy what is on the wrapper:
"Over a thousand years ago, in remote mountain highlands of Asia, a group of Buddhist monks called the Luohan achieved enlightenment through meditation, prayer and pure living. On the slopes of a primeval forest, the monks discovered and cultivated a rare fruit prized for its sweetness. This sacred fruit was named Monk Fruit, or Luohan Guo, after its devoted caretakers and was used in elixirs to increase chi, or life energy. Monk Fruit was used for centuries in eastern traditional herbalism to increase chi and well-being, earning it the nickname “The Immortals’ Fruit.” We still grow and harvest Monk Fruit for LAKANTO® in the same pristine area and according to traditional and environmental methods".
Sounds impressive doesn't it?! Increase your chi, become spiritual, find enlightenment...all through a sweetener. But how does it compare to The Almighty white stuff? I'll get to that later...
As well as being sacred, this sweetener is autism approved by the Autism Hope Alliance, non GMO, vegan, gluten free, contains zero calories and has zero glycemic index. It contains erythritol as well as monkfruit extract.
It looks similar to brown sugar in texture, and I initially used it in cups of tea. Although it is fairly sweet, I did find I had to use an extra spoonful to get the right level of sweetness. I suspected it would be better in baking so I tried using it in cookies, and they turned out rather well indeed, although the taste and texture is different from sugar. It's hard to describe really, but its definitely sweet and tastes more natural than any other low carb sweetener out there. I liked it; it's perfectly palatable and makes good cookies!
Overall, do I recommend this product? If you're on a low carb or sugar free diet, then yes, definitely! Its a lot healthier than real sugar and you can bake with it, which is the main point. However it may cause cravings for real sugar, so do exercise caution. I think it's great for occasional low carb baking, but maybe not for daily use. If you're not low carb but just want to reduce your sugar intake, then this is also a good product for you - it can be combined with real sugar to lessen the calorie load.
For more info on Lakanto: https://www.lakanto.com/
8 out of 10.
Saturday, 22 July 2017
Since Montezuma's bars started appearing in my local Sainsbury's I've been gradually making my way through the range, they do everything from the intense Absolute Black 100% Bar, to the fruity Black Forest Gateau Pudding Bar, both of which are great so I thought I'd try another in their range: Spice It Up with Dragon Ginger. This bar is vegan, dairy free, gluten free and non GMO. The chocolate contains 70% cocoa solids and ginger is listed as 7% in the ingredients.
I do like 70% cocoa bars, and even more so when they have some added ingredients so this bar was an absolute delight. The chocolate is rich and good quality, with a slight fruity edge. The crystallized ginger brings a warming burst of sweetness with every bite, it's gentle and fiery and definitely fits with the name "dragon" ginger. It's a tasty and moreish combination, I imagine this bar would be great in the Winter months with a cuppa!
Overall, this a tasty and great quality bar - Montezuma's have done it again! I'm struggling to find a favourite from their bars that I've tried recently, they're all so good, but I would say the Black Forest was pretty special.
Nutrition (per 25g): 10g Fat, 8g Carbohydrates, 8g Sugars, 2g Protein, 2g Fibre.
8.5 out of 10.
Thursday, 20 July 2017
A big thankyou to Crabbie's for providing me with these bottles of alcoholic gluten free ginger beer for todays review, they were very much appreciated! What with the hot, changeable weather recently it's always nice to have something refreshing on hand to cool down with, especially when it's alcoholic.
Crabbie's have been going since the 1800's when Scottish pioneer John Crabbie started creating drinks from steeped ginger and exotic spices from the far east. For more info on their history, do check out Crabbie's website: www.crabbiesgingerbeer.co.uk.
The Original variety is made to Crabbie's "unique steeped ginger recipe" and contains 4% alcohol. I chilled it in the freezer, before pouring into a glass to drink ice cold. It was lovely; super refreshing, spicy and fiery with a lovely ginger warmth. The low amount of alcohol was just right, enough to make you feel a slight merriness but not keel over. Great for a summers day! 8.5 out of 10.
The Scottish Raspberry variety had a lovely pink hue to it, with that unmistakable aroma of sweet raspberry. I was worried this wouldn't mix well with ginger beer but to my surprise it was lovely, it gave a nice tart refreshing edge to the more fiery sweet ginger. It somehow works really well! I would definitely try this again. 8.5 out of 10.
Hats off to Crabbie's, these are two lovely drinks for the summer months. I would highly recommend them if you're in need of a light, gluten free alcoholic refreshment - they're perfect for picnics and barbecues. I'll be seeking out their other flavours now!
Wednesday, 19 July 2017
A big thankyou to Goupie for sending me some of their lovely chocolates to review recently. They are "A devilishly moreish chewy chocolate confection with a hint of crunch", hand produced by a small team in Kent. They come in triangular pieces and are freshly made to order every week. There's 17 individual flavours, 13 of which are vegan friendly, whilst 7 are gluten-free. For more info do check out Goupie's website: https://goupie.co.uk/
I got the Lemon Meringue and Date & Walnut as these are both gluten free, but they also make varieties such as Hazelnut, White Chocolate & Lavender and the intriguing "A Taste of Christmas" based on the humble mince pie (only available from October to December).
Lemon Meringue (Gluten Free):
Described as "A citrus cocktail of zesty candied lemon and rich marshmallows " these had a delightful lemon aroma when I cut into them. The centre is light and chewy, very sweet and oh so moreish. The Belgian dark chocolate is the perfect coating, with the marshmallow being a nice finish. These had me hooked! Before I knew it they were gone...oops. 8.5 out of 10.
Date & Walnut (Gluten Free, Vegan):
Described as "A priceless pairing of succulent dates and creamy walnuts", these are dairy free and vegan as well as gluten free.
The centres in these were very sticky, no doubt thanks to the dates, and oh so moreish. They also have a rich chocolate flavour going on.
They're the perfect ooey, gooey munchy snack that will keep you reaching for more. Super rich and full of flavour, with the walnuts adding a slightly savoury edge, these would make a perfect end to a meal. 8 out of 10.
Out of the two boxes Goupie sent me, it's hard to pick a favourite because both were so moreish and addictive, but as you can see the Lemon Meringue scored higher, purely because I prefer zesty fruity flavours. Both are great though, and boy do I wish I wasn't gluten sensitive so I could try the other varieties!
Saturday, 15 July 2017
Following on from my review of Ombar Centres Coconut & Vanilla, today's review is another bar they sent me recently; Ombar 90% Cacao, made with organic Ecuadorian raw cacao. This is gluten free, dairy free, suitable for vegans and made with coconut sugar rather than refined white sugar.
The chocolate packs quite the cocoa punch, it's somewhat fruity and sour and a lot richer than regular chocolate. It was nice and I appreciated the different flavours compared to regular cacao, but it's not something I would neccesarily eat as a snack. It's something to be appreciated with a glass of wine or strong coffee.
Overall, a nice but very intense chocolate, this is one for the chocolate connoisseurs rather than an everyday indulgence. For that I would stick to the Ombar Centres.
Nutrition Information (per bar): 201 Calories, 18g Fat, 9.1g Carbohydrates, 3.6g Sugars, 3.5g Protein.
Organic Ingredients: raw cacao, coconut sugar, cocoa butter.
8 out of 10.
Wednesday, 12 July 2017
I was recently sent a few chocolate bars from Ombar to review, which made me very happy indeed - I am currently avoiding dairy and trying to cut back on sugar a bit (let's see how long that lasts!), so these really made my day when I got them in the post. They're completely vegan, dairy free and gluten free and made with organic raw cacao. This particular bar contains a truffle filling of creamy coconut flavoured with vanilla.
The filling looks somewhat like the centre of a Lindt Creamy bar, and it tastes de-licious! It's extremely rich, and melts in the mouth perfectly giving an indulgent taste experience. The chocolate is rich and earthy tasting - you can definitely tell it's made with raw cacao, and it contrasts nicely with the creamy centre.
If you're dairy free or vegan, these are bars you will want to stock up on and eat all to yourself. They're so rich and satisfying that a little goes a long way, I do wish they came in larger bars though. I couldn't help but want more after eating this - old habits die hard I guess!
Ingredients: Creamed coconut, coconut sugar, raw cacao, coconut oil, cocoa butter, vanilla extract.
Nutrition per bar: 202 Calories, 15g Fat, 16g Carbohydrates, 11g Sugars, 2.9g Protein.
9 out of 10.