Shopping at Ocado for Free-from Food & Review of Items

Why Ocado?

I’m not able to get out of the house much (especially in the warmer weather) and I feel awful sending my Dad and my bloke out with lists of incredibly specific items that not every individual supermarket stocks. Imagine my Dad asking a member of staff for “This quinowaa stuff in a tub? It was on the Instagram.” “Sounds exotic, try the foreign isle.” (That’s the only thing they ever suggest because they can’t be arsed looking) and my bloke trying to explain that “No, harrisa paste won’t be in the DIY section!”

Is it easy?

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So easy! For a start there’s a ‘Browse Shop’ tab (top left) which reveals all of the different sections of the shop including toiletries, gardening, baby as well as frozen, fresh etc. I chose ‘Free From & Organic’. From the next list I choose ‘vegetarian’, ‘dairy free’ and ‘gluten free’. You can also filter by brands and what’s on offer. Minimum order is £40, which I would say is an average family, weekly shop anyway.

Booking and deliveries

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It’s displayed on an easy to understand grid, with the dates across the top and the 1 hour delivery times underneath. I’m not sure how far into the future you can schedule a delivery but it’s best to bear in mind that a product may be available when ordering but not necessarily available by the time your delivery happens.

You can alter your delivery times and edit your basket (you do have to check out again for the latter) up until the day before it’s due to arrive. You get a text the day before your delivery reminding you of the time, then another on the day telling you the name of your driver, the colour of the van (‘lemon’ which had giant lemons all over) and the reg. It also tells you if any item is unexpectedly out of stock. I found it amusing that, of all things they’d run out of my plain old toothpaste.

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Staff are so friendly and will carry your shopping right into your kitchen for you. Everything comes in named and colour coded bags so you can see where everything should go.

It is easy being green!

A little green van symbol indicates ‘greener delivery slots’. These are when an Ocado van is already doing another delivery in your area, so less millage and fuel burnt. You keep your bags and hand them back and any cardboard beer/wine holders on your next delivery.

The Food

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The Good

Everything by Sacla is always perfect.

Biona Fruit Bears are so much juicer better than Haribo.

Nakd Salted Caramel Bars are perfectly balanced between sweet and salty. They are so soft that it’s better to store them in the fridge on hot days.

Livia’s Nuglets are similar in flavour and also better kept in the fridge, for that chunks-of-cookie-dough-in-ice-cream effect.

Gu Spanish Lemon Cheesecakes are absolutely dreamy!

Gosh! Spinach and Pinenut Bites are basically a mild, soft falafel. These taste great with a few drops of water splashed on and warmed in the microwave for 10 seconds, then teamed with humus and salad.

Soulful One Pot, Brazillian Tomato and Black Bean with Cashews and Quinoa was so creamy for something dairy free and the ingredients were all so perfectly balanced, it was a delight to eat.

Violife block of cheese is the best dairy-free cheese I’ve eaten. Like a giant block of Dairylee slices.

Quorn Peperoni slices do contain milk in the flavourings but not enough to have an effect on me. Perfect cold in sandwiches with American mustard or hot on a pizza.

The Bad

Bakery of Main GF Muesli Banana flavour – No where near enough banana pieces!

Warburton’s GF Loaf – Sticks to your teeth like a sponge rehydrating it’s self. schaar white loaf is so much better.

Free and Easy Chickpea and Vegetable Curry – I was expecting something like an Indian daal, what I got was a Mexican chilli. Hmm.

The Meh…

Soulful One Pot, Mexican Bean and Sweet Potato with Quinoa – I thought I might not like the flavour of the quinoa but it was pleasant. I was disappointed that the flavour of the sweet potato was barley noticeable. I found that I was begrudgingly plodding my way through it, simply because I was hungry.

Clive’s Pies – These came out of the oven so damn dry! It didn’t say to microwave them but I did and they came out like a pudding from the chippy, nom! Still not a patch on other veggie pies I’ve eaten as they are stingy on the filling. Sort it out Clive!

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I’ve found the whole experience so much less stressful and time consuming than doing a physical shop. It wasn’t anymore expensive and I now have a fully stocked kitchen of lovely food that won’t make me ill. I accepted my second delivery (filled with more every-day type stuff, as well as a few new things) as I was typing this. After I’ve tried everything I’m going to edit my favourites list online and then just have it as a repeat order every month I reckon.

Chrissie

 

 

 

 

Kirsty’s Classic Margherita Pizza Gluten & Dairy Free review

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It’s unusual for me to find a pizza that is GF and DF, especially one that has a fair amount of toppings. I found this in Tesco.

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Studies have found that our gut health does directly relate to our emotions because they are connected by the vagus nerve, which transmits signals between them. Ever been really nervous and had a slushy feeling in your stomach or received bad news and felt your stomach drop? Ever eaten something you know doesn’t agree with your stomach in the evening and then had really chaotic anxiety dreams? It does make you wonder!

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They could add more cheese around the edge but the sauce is delicious and the thin base is lovely and crispy so I wasn’t too bothered. My only complaint is that the ‘cheese’ was too sweet. Nice flavour to it but I had to add salt and pepper to make it more savoury.

In my gas oven I had to put this on the shelf that’s above middle but not right at the top, rather than the middle as suggested. I also had to put it on gas mark 7 (higher than the temperature suggested) and leave it in for five minutes longer. Frustrating at first but I’m glad I persevered.

The bloke cooked his in a microwave-combi oven and followed the instructions exactly. It came out perfect!?

Rating 4/5 (depending on oven)

Chrissie

 

Oumph! Kebab Spiced

Oumph! Kebab Spiced strips really do taste like Greek or Turkish kebabs made with traditional spices.

I’ve used them to add texture and protein to a salad; I’ve had them in a wrap with fried onion, mushroom and bell pepper with a little yoghurt sauce and thinly sliced cucumber and as a simple burger replacement topped with melted cheese, tomato sauce and lettuce.

The first word that comes to mind when describing the texture is chewy. ‘Very resilient hot dog sausage’ is a fair comparison. Be aware that this does not change, no matter how much you fry them.

I love them for their authentic flavour, versatility and yes, even the texture. A girl can only eat tofu for so long without wanting a change.

Rating 5/5

Chrissie

Ben & Jerry’s Vegan Coconutterly Caramel’d Ice Cream

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That’s quite a name isn’t it! I absolutely loved those caramel and coconut flavoured Bon Bon’s as a kid, so I was proper chuffed when The Bloke came home with this from Tesco.

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The two main flavours were perfectly balanced and the added chocolate chunks were huge! I didn’t notice the cookie content so I wished there were some little caramel chunks in there as well as it being swirled through, instead.

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You would never know that this is vegan ice cream and the flavour of the almond milk it’s made with isn’t noticeable.

Rating 4/5

Chrissie

Gluten and Dairy Free Crisps from Aldi

I think I’ve found the Holy Grail of crisps for people with dairy and gluten intolerance!

Wait, what actually is a food intolerance?

Food intolerances, although not as dangerous as some allergies, can have a very real and detrimental affect on daily life. Sometimes causing severe bloating/water retention, facial redness, shortness of breath, bad skin, serious gut pain, bowel problems and fatigue. As a result of the body seeing this food as alien, it not only raises histamines (very stressful for our immune system) but the body doesn’t absorb much goodness from the food so vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common.

Can’t you just avoid cheese, milk, pasta and bread then?

This is exactly what I thought at first, until I discovered that Lactose (a milk sugar) and Gluten (a grain protein) are often used in flavourings to bulk them out and to get them to stick to the snack. I’ve honestly been in so many supermarkets where I couldn’t buy ANY crisps or flavoured rice cakes or popcorn, not even trusty Salt & Vinegar flavour sometimes because of either Lactose or Gluten in the flavouring. The big bags of ‘posh crisps’ tend to be a little better I’ve noticed but they are so dear!

So do they taste any good?

All of these flavours taste unique and wonderful. Ranging from sweet but spicy Serrano Chilli & Yucatán Honey along with Tomatillo Salsa, to the spicy, smokey but slightly sharper Chipotle and Lime, to traditional Sea Salt and Black Pepper and the more unusual, zingy Sea Salt and Lime. My fave surprisingly.

Any other good stuff?

Both ranges are pleasantly affordable and the textures are crunchy but not too hard, a lot like handmade tortilla chips you would get in a hipster bar.

The Specially Selected range contain 2.5% seeds, including Golden Linseed, Sunflower Seeds, Brown Linseed and Millet. The Tortillas With Spirit are made from Whole White Corn and Green Lentils.

Nom, nom…

A big handful of these dipped into hummus, chunky salsa or dairy free yoghurt are so filling and energy giving that I’ve been having them for lunch (on slower days) rather than just as a snack. Also, very nice crushed and sprinkled over salad for extra protein and texture.

🖤Chrissie🖤

What’s In My Fridge

Often when I explain to people that I’m veggie and have a gluten and dairy intolerance, they often ask “Then what do you eat then?”

Top shelf: Chilled Water; Burger Sauce (this is as close to prawn cocktail sauce I’ve found and I love it on salad); Spanish Tortilia.

Middle shelf: Giant Green Olives; Organic Humus; Quorn Smokey Ham Free Slices; Violife Block Original (dairy free cheese, which is great for gooey toasties).

Bottom Shelf: Humus, Artichoke hearts in oil, Sacla Free From Green Pesto, Tahini (perfect for making your own humus by adding the tahini with tinned chickpeas, garlic paste or fresh and olive oil and blending); Gosh! Veggie Moroccan Spiced Koftas.

Salad Draw: Usually iceberg lettuce, rocket, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper; Mixed pickled veg which I love as it’s so crunchy!

Top door shelf: East End Very Hot Green Chilli; East End Hot Mango and Chilli (can’t taste any mango but it is very refreshing, used sparingly); Pitted Black Olives x2; East End Tamarind Sauce (sweeter than the original paste); Sriracha Hot Sauce (sweeter and less vinegary than Tabasco).

Bottom door shelf: Tyskie (not mine, I prefer Peroni – gluten free);OKF Farmer’s Aloe Vera with Water Melon (tasty and so hydrating); Vita Coconut Water (er, so hydrating); Alpro Almond Milk (great with coffee or for making ‘cheese’ sauce).

I’d love to hear if you have any questions or if there are other ways that you would use these items?

Chrissie

Monthly Round-up June

Style

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Find this in a pile of the Bloke’s old clothes and ‘adopted it’.

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I finally found two dresses, that hide my pizza handles; are a practical but un-frumpy length (at least for me) and aren’t too prom-dressy. Both from EMP.

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When you can’t be arsed hiding your natural resting bitch face, ha! This Casual Urban Summer outfit felt surprisingly cool (before the heatwave) and also worked well with gladiator sandals for casual evenings.

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I’ve been trying to find sunglasses like these very old ones but haven’t been having much luck, as I guess they are very early-2000’s in style. I’m also learning how to take selfies with a point and shoot camera…I need more practice.

Food and Drink

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Someone gave us an Aloe plant about a year ago and this is the first time that I used it in a drink. It tastes so bitter but if you only use half a finger, somehow that tartness goes away when you mix it with anything sweet, like perfectly ripe strawberries.

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The Bloke has bringing me veggie koftas by Gosh from the ‘posh’ Tesco in Didsbury. I don’t always have enough energy to make and fry my own falafel or to get to the deli before they close so these are a great alternative and last for ages in the fridge.

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We bought some chilli seeds around two months ago and now we have this lovely gangly thing. In the morning it raises it’s leaves and then bends toward the sun in an arch throughout the day. Just after sundown, it lowers it’s leaves again and stays still. I’ve just pollinated it, with it’s own flowers but I can’t see any yellow pollen so I have no idea if it worked and we will get chilli’s.

Beauty

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Hempz, Herbal range are some of the best products I’ve ever used to style my crazy, frizzy natural hair so they were a joy to review.

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These three are the most borrow-able items in my blokes bathroom and they smell great too so I thought I’d review them in Pinching My Blokes Skincare.

Lifestyle

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I was offered a free star map from Modern Map Art and chose to get one done for my Dad for Fathers Day. Here’s my review if you want to know more.

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I found this, which made me laugh as it was so appropriate at the time ^_^

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I’ve nearly finished series 5 of Gotham. It has it’s usual gangster slant and a new intelligent baddy for young Bruce. They’ve added more of a horror element this series and also the violence is less comic book and just plain graphic. I’m not a big fan of either of the above. Poison Ivy and Butch aren’t pictured here, probably for good reason, so as not to spoil the surprise of how they look.

I made this using the Geek Alphabet created by The Nifty Nerd. Such a great idea!

Chrissie

Monthly Roundup – Feb & March

FEB

I’m going to start off with ‘Our Day’ as we call it because it’s around Valentine’s Day but it doesn’t HAVE to be on that exact date. We went to our favourite Asian vegetarian restaurant for traditional dishes, contemporary dishes and as many of the amazing mock meats we could fit!

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For Autumn and Winer and lets face it, most of spring in the UK I’ve taken to wearing JJH – Jumper, jeans and heels. For warmer days I pick a light knit with a wide neck, looser boot cut jeans and strappy heels. For colder days a chunky oversize knit, skinny jeans and high heeled ankle boots.

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After a busy afternoon or a night out at a gig, I’d be pretty useless the next day. I was being defeated by simple things like opening bottles, getting dressed and combing my hair, and also saying sentences which went around in circles without any point because I was really brain fogged as well as fatigued and utterly uncoordinated. So I sat down and kind of forced myself to think of 10 Reasons Why I Love My Wonky Body. The post got so many positive responses, from gentle encouragement to people saying they totally empathised and I’d made them feel better.

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I have to confess, in the 80’s I loved bumbags or fannypacks (for peeps in the US). Now the trend has been recycled into the more fashion friendly ‘belt bags’. So here are 12 Belt Bags for Spring.

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I also blogged 10 No Nonsense Life Lessons as it’s taken me a while to figure some of them out and I wished I’d have know all of them in teens and twenties.

Me and the Bloke celebrated Shrove…Pancake Day this year and made some rather substantial pancakes by adding too much flower – oops! We have them in the traditional neutral/savoury way, with lots of sugar and lemon.

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I always get flabby over winter from over eating and hibernating but I figured while the weather is cool I should get my butt moving now, before the weather gets too hot in Spring/Summer. I’m pretty pleased with the result, although those shiny nylon type of leggings act like cellophane (saran wrap) and do a lot of the work aesthetically!

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MARCH

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What a top night! The supporting band was Afro Cluster (reminds me of a retro hair product) who’s sound I’d describe as funky jazz hip-hop with a fantastic MC. Charles obviously knows his Northern Soul, trad soul and funk as he’s been doing this for over a decade now but I loved that he threw in three of Stevie Wonders funkiest tunes. Band On The Wall were lovely when it came to reserving me a banquette (as part of their disability accommodations) so I didn’t have any anxiety over standing in pain or passing out with heat fatigue.

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It snowed!!! Yes, as you can tell, I love snow. This is my view from the living room window. Rather Narnia-esque isn’t it? ^_^

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I’ve finally found a dairy-free chocolate and nut spread which tastes like Nutella, better actually! Here’s my review of Meridian Cocoa & Hazelnut Butter.

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Now the weather is getting milder (utterly indecisive) for Spring, I’m moving toward my trusty 90’s grunge look as the layering is so practical, plus, it’s more socially acceptable than going out in PJ’s.

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Eeeh, pie! For too long it has been a case of No woman, No pie, so for British Pie Week we accepted an invite to Pieminister on Church Street – which is quickly becoming my fave city centre street. I chose Wild Shroom pie; mushroom and asparagus in a creamy white wine sauce and the Bloke chose Saag Pie-neer; pea, paneer cheese, potato, chilli and mango, both with mash spud and gravy, of course (£7 for one).

The pies were amazing, pastry not too flakey, not too stodgy, with perfectly balanced flavours. I loved the mash but the Bloke thought it a little over-worked. He liked the gravy and I thought it would go perfectly with any pie on the menu but, for me, it didn’t taste savoury enough. Pieminister also offer three gluten free options but it depends were you go for your pie (pub, cafe, restaurant) as they aren’t available everywhere.

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It would seem that I’m going grey early, or rather, gold. My nearly black hair has been getting lighter and lighter, as have my pale green eyes, which are now a golden-amber shade. So does that mean I’m going to be a golden oldie? Haha! Sorry.

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I was sent this Hempz body moisturiser which has the scent of banana, which is just heavenly! It contains pure hemp seed oil, an absolute saviour for dehydrated, under nourished skin. It also contain Shea butter and ginseng to sooth skin (I used it after shaving my legs and it didn’t irritate them) and vitamins A, E and C to protect against environmental damage.

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We are growing a chilli plant, well it was three chilli plants but we killed the other two somehow. I was going to give it a name but the Bloke advised me not to get too attached, going off the overall survival rate.

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These Violife dairy free (and vegan) cheese slices taste like Kraft Cheese Slices but better. I’ve been melting them onto nachos in the microwave for 40 seconds for very melted on with salt and pepper or 20 seconds which is like that sweet, gooey, cinema cheese.

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I decided to check out Peacocks, a brand I used to love in my 20’s. They’ve gotten even better. I bought, beautiful lingerie, an initial cup, an initial makeup bag, a rose gold (and very sturdy) charging lead, and the most blinging hand-warmers and beanie I’ve ever seen. Everything I bought is well made, well fitting, reasonable priced, not to mention, very pretty!

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For anyone who is too old or just too damn cool for an easter egg, I did a little post of Dairy-free Chocoalte Treats for Easter.

Chrissie

Meridian Cocoa and Hazelnut Butter

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Meridian Cocoa & Hazelnut Butter (170g) is the best dairy free chocolate spread I’ve ever tried and the fact it has hazelnuts makes it taste even more like Nutella, which, if we are being honest, is what most of us are aiming for. I’ve tried other chocolate spreads that were very dark and bitter or the taste of fruit sweetener was very obvious and rather odd.

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As you can see the texture is quite thick (once you give it a good stir when you first pop open the lid). I slap a thick layer between two pieces of sliced bread and that’s it. You don’t really need anything else with it, although sliced banana is a nice addition.

This does not contain any…

  • Palm oil
  • GMO ingredients
  • Artificial colouring
  • Artificial flavouring
  • Artificial preservative
  • Refined sugar
  • Trans fats
  • Rapeseed oil (which does not encourage biodiversity)

I don’t want an expensive Free From easter egg this year, instead I’ll be having this for breakfast or lunch and maybe supper.

Chrissie

Dairy-free Chocolate Treats for Easter

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Easter, that respected and meaningful time for stuffing yourself full of choccy. However, if you – or the person you are buying for – are intolerant to dairy or figure you are too cool (old) for an easter egg, you might like these dairy-free chocolate treats instead.

29177306_10156144849507487_816864943509136965_nDartmoor Chilli Farm – Chilli Dark Chocolate

Dartmoor Chilli Farm is family owned farm using green energy and no pesticides or herbicides. They have an inventive selection of chilli chocolate bars with piquancy thermometers on the label so you can see exactly what you are letting yourself in for. From the mildest chilli lime or orange dark chocolate bars, to the hottest Carolina Reaper chilli chocolate o_O  As you can probably tell from the mostly empty packet, this basic Dark Chilli Chocolate is my favourite.

29196517_10156144849517487_6915576937937668410_nBouja Bouja – Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles

Dairy free, gluten free and organic, these truffles are little squares of heaven. To be honest, I wasn’t sure about the dusting of bitter powdered choccy on the outside at first but one bight revealed a sweet, nutty ganache centre. I also adore the sophisticated packaging which makes them a lovely gift for someone.

29133800_10156144849522487_9136683043937876349_nnakd – Posh Bits – Cocoa Sea Salt

These sweet, squishy treats are the type of things you would bring round to a loved ones or a friends to share. They are a good introduction for anyone who’s still not sold on the salted-chocolate thing or doesn’t have much of a crazy sweet-tooth as the flavours are well balanced.

❤ Chrissie ❤