Perfect World Caramel Pecan Vegan Ice Cream

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I came across this in Tesco and recognised the Perfect World logo (although it’s changed a little) from some of their ice cream I bought from Co-op a while back so I’m hoping Perfect World is now widely available.

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It’s a bonus that it has lots of vits and minerals in but let’s be honest, who worries about that when they are eating ice cream, eh? I also like that they haven’t gone over-board with the calorific content as I’ll be eating a LOT of it!

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The caramel is on the more saltier side, which I love and the pecans compliment it really well. I just wish they’d left them chunkier for added texture, rather than really finely chopped and blended in. As well as just eating it with a spoon out of the tub (me), this is also a nice alternative for people who normally eat dairy ice cream with desert.

Rating 4/5

Chrissie

Best of My Alternative & Urban Lifestyle 2017

January 

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Best footwear – Iridescent Nike ID with my name ‘Wench’ on the back.

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Best Chinese/Japanese/Thai Eatery – Lotus, Wilmslow Road, Withington, is a vegetarian family restaurant serving an amazing choice of mock meats and fish as well as traditional EA dishes.

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Best Cruelty-free Face Serum/Moisuriser/Oil – Eden’s Semilla Serums. If you have an uneven skin texture or your skin is dry/combination or you are seeing signs of ageing, then these two serums will leave your skin noticeably plumped, hydrated and balanced all day.

February

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Best Stationary – I bought this diary from Paperchase as I loved the colours and the layout. I decided to use it as a ‘Best thing today’ or ‘happiness’ journal where I write down anything positive that happened that day, even if it was just getting creative in the kitchen for lunch.

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Best Dairy-free Snack – These Ten Acre crisps taste amazing! I had three people insisting that they read the ingredients because they just couldn’t believe they were dairy free. Gluten and MSG free too.

March

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Best Cruelty-free, Temporary, Hair Dye – Manic Panick (the one in a tub) has a thick consistency which means it’s really easy to dip a tint brush into and apply, without getting it every where. It comes in every colour you can imagine and is gentle on coarse/dry/damaged hair. It started out a deep teal colour and has now faded to this after around 12 washes.

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Best Place To Buy Affordable Jeans – Matalan. Yup, for real. They do various fits with several styles in each. I chose a skinny, mid-rise style. Even if if you have a food-baby the next day it doesn’t matter because they stretch to fit, which also means you can wear them for ages before they go baggy at the knees and need washing.

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Best Cruelty-free Mens Skincare – My Bloke loves Bull Dog Original range because it doesn’t have a strong scent and is cruelty free with no unnecessary ingredients so it’s very simple yet effective.

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Best Place For Omnivores and Vegetarians To Eat Together – Zouk. I was invited to try their new menu and found that there were enough choices to keep me satisfied and the food was of good quality and cooked well. There’s also a little cocktail bar with a wonderful menu. I can imagine most groups of friends being happy here.

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Best Smoothie/Blended Drink Recipe – I will share this with anyone who will listen LOL Rice Milk/Soy Milk, Heaped tbl spn peanut butter, Medium banana, Maple syrup/Golden Syrup. Add Bournville choccy powder (mixed with a little cold milk first) to turn into a Snickers smoothie.

April

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Best Cruelty-free Nail Polish – I love the original colours and finishes that Zoya offer. I’ve also found that it’s very gentle on my brittle nails and last as long as other ‘long wear’ polishes which are double the price.

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Best Manchester Outdoor Space – Fletcher Moss. Is a beautiful landscaped garden filled with flowers, trees and a pond, with a little heather garden to the side. They have toilets (very rustic) and a cafe. Stenner Wood is right behind if you want to feel like you are in the countryside for a little while.

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Best Cruelty-free Household Product – Beauty Kitchen. I know a lot of people who wouldn’t dream of using beauty products tested on animals but never consider getting CF items for around the house. Gentle on sensitive and/or dry skin with a beautiful scent this organic hand wash is a winner.

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Best Alternative Online Shop – EMP have branched out from rock/goth wear, band merch and geek pop-culture to also include urban style. Honestly, I could browse it all day. Some clothing items can be a bit pricey (depending on the brand) but they have little twists of originality, are of high quality and the sizing charts are the most accurate I’ve come across.

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Best Dairy-free Easter Chocolate – Choices, found in Holland & Barrett and supermarket free-from isles – if you are lucky. Remember those white mice you used to get as a kid? Well this is 100% better!

May

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Best Spirit – Dark rum in general of course but has to be Sailor Jerry, followed very closely by The Kraken. SJ took it for their perpetually creative labelling.

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Best Unexpected Bargain – I got bored while my bloke was in the army surplus shop and found this tiny vest on sale! I chopped the neck out slightly so it was more flattering.

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Best Tidy Solution – I used this pretty box a prezzie came in and an old watch tin a friend gave me to store the makeup that I use daily. I’ve chucked out anything that really wasn’t working for me and the rest (very similar colours to what’s here already or party makeup) is in a transparent wash bag under the sink. So much quicker to see what I’ve got and where it is!

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Best Indian Eatery – Hands down has to be Lilly’s in Ashton, Greater Manchester. They have an extensive but comprehensive menu of the most delicious vegetarian food. From hearty traditional dishes to quick street food for lunch and creative combinations of ingredients on their Indo-Chinese menu, you will want to visit several times to try it all.

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Best Cruelty-free Makeup Brand – Elf. Every single one of their product I’ve used has worked perfectly for me. Products are true to how they’ve been shown/described on the site, they are easy to apply and long wearing. Worst goes to Soap & Glory – just ugh!

 June

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Best Charity Merchandise – This One Love Manchester jumper I bought for the survivors of the Manchester Arena bombing. Obviously being a Manc this is very close to my heart but I genuinely love the graffiti style of lettering.

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Best Cruelty-free Shampoo – Weleda, Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash. Rarely have I come across a shampoo that is so gentle on my coarse frizzy hair as this. Some ‘natural’ shampoo’s I’ve used have left my hair matted and feeling like straw but I didn’t even need conditioner after this! As usual I just oiled my hair when it was still damp and left to air dry. Perfect.

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Best Full Vegetarian or Vegan Eatery – V Revolution. Creative American-style fast food, which is surprisingly healthy and tastes of individual ingredients, rather than salt and ketchup. Order a White Russian cocktail for a glass of heaven.

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Best Energy Drink or Snack – I had to go with Rockstar as they taste like fizzy pop, rather than that sickly, slightly medicinal thing other energy drinks have going on. I fill a drinks bottle with 2/3 energy drink, 1/3 water and a pinch of salt and sip it when I’m flagging to keep my energy and electrolyte levels up. One bottle usually lasts me two days.

July

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Best Cruelty-free All Round Moisturiser – Faith in Nature Coconut Body Lotion. I use this on my body and my face as it’s thin enough to sink in quickly without being oily.

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Best Accessory – I’ve looked at so many pins from various places this year. This Milk & Moon one was thoughtfully packaged and the gold and black theme looks classy rather than cartoonish, which is what I wanted.

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Best Book – Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor (YA Fiction) is the perfect blend of fantasy and every day, which escalates to serious proportions. Easy to read, with engaging characters and a plot which could lead literally anywhere.

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Best Funko Pop! – I have to go with The Cheshire Cat from (the modern) Alice in Wonderland. He’s so quirky-cute and makes me smile every time I notice him. Plus the fur and stripe detailing is really well done.

August

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Best Cruelty-free Skin Treatment – Murad Radiance Peel has transformed my skin from being dull, flakey and hopeless to being smooth, radiant and able to absorb moisturisers, serums and oils.

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Best Book I Would Recommend – I do love The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern but the first part of the book, before the two main characters even meet was hard going for me. However, I thought the rest was wonderful and utterly absorbing.

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Best Impromptu Selfie – I took this while I was waiting to get ready for a night out and liked it so much more than the one I took when I was ready! Check out my sexy owl PJ’s lol

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Best Alternative/Urban OOTD – I usually like to mix alt and urban style but I decided to go all out rock festival with this one for Summer.

September

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Best Surprising Food Combo – Edamame and Avocado. Followed closely drinking Tia Maria with seaweed/miso/Chinese flavoured food. Try it ^_^

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Best (Gluten Free) Larger – Peroni has always been my fave larger for how light and refreshing it is, and now they’ve started doing a gf one, which is just as good.

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Best Everyday Look – I love this outfit because it’s practical, flattering and represents the Gorton girl in me with the hoodie and big sparkly hoop earrings. I can also take my hoodie off and have a nice top underneath for evening.

October

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Best Place To Buy Lingerie/Nightwear – Boux Avenue make THE BEST bra’s. Pretty but comfortable and in a flattering range of styles and colours. Their night/lounge wear is also really lovely.

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Best Gluten Free Pizza – Pizza Express by a mile. They also have other great gf options and are very understanding of dietary requirements.

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Best High Street/Drug Store Cruelty-free Makeup – Well, Topshop makeup is new to me as I’d never used it before. Affordable, great colour payoff, easy to apply and stays put. I’m really impressed!

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Best Dairy Free Choccy – Sarelle is like a Fererro Rocher but with sweet dark chocolate, rather than milk. This is a decent sized choccy bar but it still isn’t big enough, ha!

November

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Best Cruelty-free Party Makeup – Barry M, Matte Me Up lip linner and lip paint. Metallic, yet oddly matte this is actually really wearable for anyone with an olive-dark skin tone. I think if you were paler, you would be making a much bigger statement with it.

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Best Fashion Trend – Apart from Rosegold – which I’ve always liked since I was a 13 year old looking at jewellery in the Argos catalogue – it has to be knitwear with subtle corset and grunge detailing, mainly fraying, large gaps in the crochet and random lacing.

December

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Best Veggie Sweets – Made with real fruit juice, these Organic Mini Fruit Bears by Biona are possibly the tastiest sweets I’ve ever tried. Everyone I know who’s tried them – loved them.

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Best Tech – Nokia 105. You can drop it, accidentally sit on it, play different versions of Snake on it, it’s a petty retro colour, it has a torch which is actually effective, it’s really light weight, no scally will want to rob it off you and you will only need to charge it twice in your life time. Bargain!

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Best Cruelty-free Lipbalm/Skin Saviour – I know that I could just buy a big cheap jar of coconut oil from the local market but Dr. Organic is organic (duh), contains an SPF 15 and is so handy to carry around. One of the very few things that makes any noticeable difference to my lips at all.

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Best Healthy Convenience Food – This veggie sushi from Tesco is as tasty as it is pretty.

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Best Homeware – I love the duck egg blue colour of this Tesco blanket and it is unbelievably soft! I live in it now – we are one.

Best Alternative/Independent High Street Shop – Aflecks, Tib Street/Oldham Street (established the year I was born – a fact which I love). This giant maze-like building s an Alladin’s cave of independent shops. I don’t know any other place where you will find quality fancy dress, vinyl records, American candy, vintage clothes, Japanese imports, band merchandise, a vegan shop, a cute cafe, a clothes embellishing and customising service, retro toys/collectibles, rave/rock/urban clothing, cruelty free makeup and hair dye, along with piercing, tattooing and hairdressing studio’s.

I hope you enjoyed my alternative 2017 awards!

Chrissie

Monthly Round Up – December

25443181_10155904237962487_4979927048399726456_nFood/Dinning Out

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Me and my Bloke decided to try both christmas menu’s at Greens on two consecutive Mondays. We were not disappointed, but then we never are. I loved their Xmas decor, the food was inventive, made with quality ingredients and cooked to perfection. Just don’t ask them for an iced coffee, unless you want a rather indecisive luke-warm offering.

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I reviewed these gf, nutty, chewy Atkins bars.

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I haven’t been feeling the happiest of bunnies lately (not relating to the festive season) so the Bloke bought me a few sweet goodies…At the same time I was buying myself some lol

I went to V Revolution to show my support as they have recently opened again after some awful flooding. I ordered a sheese and facon burger with slaw on the side and loaded fries. I also had the best iced coffee I’ve ever had!

Style

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12 of the Cutest Christmas Jumpers because wether you are geeky, into your bling, have been a bit naughty or want to have a laugh, there is an crimbo jumper for you.

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I bought this duck egg blue super soft blanket for the sofa/bed from Tesco and keep resisting the urge to just walk around wearing it lol

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I’ve always adored rose gold as I think it really flatters my pale olive complexion so I just had to make a Rose Gold Wish List.

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Now I’m in my 30’s I seem to be appreciating more traditional decorations and festive style. So here’s my traditional christmas.

 

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All of my old cocktail rings are either looking shabby or have gotten lost or broken over the years. I always treat myself to a little prezzie each year and so I chose this, also from Tesco Direct. *NOT a promotion

Lifestyle

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I tried to start a thing on Instagram and Twitter where you post your #bestworstphoto of yourself with the reason why. This is mine because I look a lot bigger than I actually am due water retention and I don’t like my teeth (and chewing gum) showing – BUT I love that I was having a good laugh on a rare night out with old friends and was totally in the moment and not posing.

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Here is mine and my bloke’s small but shiny tree ^_^

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My lips do not produce anywhere near enough natural oils and are constantly dry and peeling. This is the only lip balm I’ve found which makes a lasting difference to them for at least half of the day. I must have a lot in common with a coconut! I’m going to start using coconut oil at home (for my dry frizzy hair as well) and save this for when I’m out.

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This started off as a general Christmas film post but I realised they were all from the same decade. Here are my Favourite 90’s Christmas Films.

 

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My health at the moment? One day functioning – one day recharging, seems to be working well.

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Me and my Bloke have made an early New Years resolution to support independent brands and crafts people/artists so I bought him two handmade mugs (only one featured) from Old Sun Pottery.

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Here’s me and my Dad in our festive jumpers. His is a giant Rudolph face (which he got from a charity shop for £3.00) and mine is a polar bear (wearing sequin antlers) and a penguin who have crossed the globe to share one giant sparkly christmas jumper together. D’aaaaw!

Merry festivities!

Chrissie

 

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Not using this little dude until after crimbo as he’s my bathroom decoration.

 

Atkins Harvest Gluten-free Bars

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The daily kind of diet which I’ve found suits me the most is one with lots of veggie protein and oils/fats, a lesser amount of carbs as my body is very sluggish at digesting these, natural sugar (meaning the only thing I add sugar to is my coffee) and a higher than average amount of salt, to help my body actually absorb the water I drink and help regulate my POTS.

Although not marketed as actual protein energy bars, the amount of nuts and seeds in Atkins Harvest provided me with enough protein to gently pick me up from a mid-afternoon slump and keep me feeling full until a late dinner. I love the crunchy, sticky texture that these bars have which is something I really miss when I eat those soft fruit based snack bars.

Chrissie

Dairy Free Sea-salted Chocovered Fudgee Bites review

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I have tried so many products lately that claim to have a ‘sea salt’ or ‘salted caramel’ flavour which had a disappointing lack of saltines. Fabulous Free From Factory, Dairy Free Sea-salted Chocovered Fudge Bites are the deliciously sweet and salty exception. I would never know that the chocolate is also dairy free without reading the label, it’s so good. I also appreciate the inclusion of the Vegetarian Society mark on the packet which always makes buying sweet nibbles easier for us veggies. I planned on getting a better photo…but then I’d eaten them all!

Rating 5/5

Chrissie

Happily Eating Gluten & Dairy free at Pizza Express

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My bloke treated me to a meal at Pizza Express, Didsbury to celebrate my 5th blogversary and to check out there new Autumn menu.

Starters

I ordered the Leggera Superfood Salad (gf v) as a starter which is made up of ‘black rice, edamame beans, red quinoa, mung beans, chickpeas, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and kale in a flavoursome vinaigrette on a bed of seasonal mixed leaves, rocket, cucumber, roasted red & yellow peppers, red onion and fresh parsley.’ It’s a very varied and tasty salad with all of the ingredients working really well together and is gluten and dairy free.

I also could have chosen Dough Balls (v), Bruschetta (v) or Mozzarella and Tomato Salad (v, gf) to help with my food intolerances. 

Main 

I knew I was going to cheat with my desert so I decided to be sensible with my main. Luckily for me, the dairy free option sounded like the nicest pizza on the menu. I ordered  the new Vegan Giardiniera (v, gf option) made up of ‘artichoke, closed cup mushroom, red onion and black olives, with tomato, vegan mozzarella alternative and garlic oil, finished with fresh parsley’ and specified a gluten free base. The result was the best pizza I have ever eaten at Pizza Express! The vegan mozzarella was so creamy, I just wished there were more of it. Because of my dyspraxia I really struggle to cut up pizza using a pizza cutter or a knife and folk but the gf base was thin and stretchy enough for me to manage fairly easily. I imagine this is similar to the base of a calzone.

I could also have chosen Bolognese Rigatoni (gf), Broad Bean Rigatoni (gf, v), Cannelloni (v), Every pizza (gf option) apart from a Calabrese, with 7 of them having (v) options.

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Side

Polenta Chips with Honey and Mustard Dressing because I love these strange little sticks and they don’t fill me up too much. I was naughty and got them with parmesan.

I also could have chosen Coleslaw (gf), salad (gf) or the left off the grated parmesan from the polenta chips to help with my food intolerances. 

Desert

Not the most sensible choice, ok the least sensible choice but I absolutely adore cold chocolate fudge cake with vanilla gelato or ice cream. Nom….

I also could have chosen pretty much any other desert (v or v option) and chocolate brownie (gf) or Caffe Reale (gf) to help with my food intolerance. 

We’ve honestly never seen a menu which is so flexible and inclusive of vegetarians, vegans and people with food intolerance and allergies. Well done Pizza Express!

Chrissie

 

SaveSave

Veggie, Wheat & Dairy Free Haul

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Raw Health Cacoa Brazilnut Bliss Spread
Not as sweet as I hoped it would be but very tasty with a strong Cacoa flavour.

Illumi Singapore Style Rice Noodles
Exactly the kind of savoury, slightly spicy flavour that you would expect from Asian noodles. After 5 minutes he sauce sauce and the noodles really thicken up.

Meridian Creamy Mushroom & White Wine Cooking Sauce
I think it was the white wine in this which threw me off a little. I added a tiny bit of sesame oil and some nutritional yeast flakes to really bring out the nutty mushroom flavour. I had this lovely creamy, chunky sauce with gnocchi and it was the loveliest dish I’ve ‘cooked’ for weeks!

Punjaban Tasty Tamarind Curry Base
This has some moderate heat to it, good rounded flavour including tomato and onion as well as slightly sweet tamarind.

Engevita Savoury Yeast Flakes
I tend not to use this in food much as the flavour gets overwhelmed easily and I don’t do baking. I love eating them in crunchy nutty/cheesy handfuls though lol

Free & Easy Green Pea Soup
The only way I can describe this is that it tasted of perfume. The herbs totally overwhelmed the flavour of peas!

Free & Easy Tomato Soup
This was a lot tangier than I expected and I sprinkled some sugar in before heating it up which made it taste more like a cream of tomato soup, which complimented the medium consistency.

Amy’s Kitchen Spanish Rice & Red Bean Soup
This was so incredibly filling and ever so slightly spicy.

The Foods of Athenry Lemon & Poppy Seed Cookie
Sweet with an undercurrent of saltiness, zesty flavour and a nice crunch. I actually preferred it a few days after I’d opened it when it had softened up a little.

Plamil Egg Free Mayo with Tarragon & Chives
The texture of mayo but slightly tart like salad cream. The (too sweet) Sour Cream and Chive Popcorn tasted great dipped into this as they balanced each other out in flavour.

Ten Acre Pastrami in the Rye Crisps
Perfect meaty, smokey flavour but veggie of course!

Ten Acre When Bombay Got Spicy Crisps
Mild, medium spiced, traditional Indian curry flavours.

Ten Acre Sour Cream & Chive Popcorn
Absolutely nothing like sour cream as it’s too sweet! Does have a very cheesy flavour though.

Nakd Pecan Pie Fruit & Nut Bar
Tasted way too much of dates and not pecans.

Raw Health Blissed Chocada Truffles
The most solid truffles you will ever eat. Fairly sweet Cacoa flavour, very chewy in a satisfying way. Just one at breakfast gave me enough energy for around 3 hours. You may want to avoid if you have loose fillings or caps though!

I bought all of this from Holland &a Barrett but I’ve seen a lot of these brands in the free-from sections of big supermarkets like Tesco, Morrison, Sainsbury’s and Coop as well as Unicorn in Chorlton and The Eighth Day on Oxford Rd.

<3Chrissie

v–v

Dairy & Wheat Free Shopping List

It’s amazing how many products like crisps, soup, meat-sustitutes and sauces are thickened or coated with with wheat or lactose (from cheese). There’s been quite a few times I’ve stood in a super market feeling totally bewildered that, after half an hour of reading labels I’ve still only got one item in my shopping basket.

These items are free from dairy, wheat and of course meat!

Quorn smokey 'bacon'If you fry this well it has a pretty good texture and tastes quite smokey. I also love the deli style ‘facon’ from Asda as it tastes really smokey and you can keep it in the fridge. This is available in most supermarkets. Don’t bother asking an assistant for ‘facon’ though, they won’t get the joke, trust me.

 

Free & Easy Potato and leek soup

 

Free & Easy Potato and Leek soup is surprisingly thick and also really tasty. I happened to find this in the amazing vegan workers co-op Unicorn in Chorlton. Click on the image to go to the Free & Easy website and see their whole range.

Genius BreadI love this bread! Genius bread was originally created by a mum for her child who has a gluten allergy. It’s gluten and dairy free and behaves like ‘normal’ bread, compared to some free-from breads that can be really dry and heavy. It’s available at most supermarkets but you can click on the picture to go to the website and see the whole Genius range.

 

Tesco Free From choc browniesThese dairy & gluten free brownies are delish! The Co-op ones are equally as good. Personally I prefer the ones from Morrison’s as they are more chunky and less gooey but I s’pose it depends on how you like your brownies.

red pesto

 

Seggiano make the best vegan pesto (red and green) I’ve ever tasted! It contains a generous amount of olive oil so it’s not too dry and the pine nuts and cashew nuts make it thick and quite creamy. Available at most veggie deli’s and some supermarkets.

Bisto Caramalised onion gravy

 

I’ve tried a lot of veggie gravy, from the disgusting to the completely bland kind. This caramelised onion one tastes so rich and unique. You only have to use 3 teaspoons to get a really good consistency.

cassava chips

 

These are also available in Spicy and Tangy Lemon. The cassava is a root vegetable a lot like a potato but from the texture of these crisps I’m guessing a lot more dense. Cassava chips are available in the ‘world food’ isle in most supermarkets or Caribbean shops.

Tamari gluten free soy sauce

 

Tamari is the awesome wheat free cousin of soy sauce. It can be a little tricky to find in supermarkets so you are best trying the ‘world food’ isle or the ‘free-from’ isle. Most specialist food shops will stock it and traditional Eastern Asian shops of course.

yoyos-raspberry-main

 

I found these in my local Co-op and then noticed them popping up in other supermarkets. Made from pure fruit they are so much nicer than those red leather shoe laces and healthier than Haribo, these are really quite addictive! I’m working my way through the whole fruit rainbow.

Hope this has helped you with some tricky food shopping. Now I need to figure out how to use the different kinds of miso before I buy a big jar of it.