Best Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Dairy Free Products & Places 2019

Best Meat Free Options

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Oumph! Kebab Spiced (soya based, gluten free) Incredible flavour, very filling, really easy to stir fry or grill, chunky and chewy!

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Like Meat, Like BBQ Chicken (soy based, gluten free) Ah-maze-ing! Similar taste and texture to a BBQ thigh but nicer. Another very versatile replacement but this time not as chewy.

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Quorn Fishless Fingers (Vegan, Not gluten free) Better than the fish fingers that I remember; these are lovely on a butty with citrusy or vinegar flavoured crisps or on a plate with beans and chips.

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Aldi No Sausage Rolls (Vegan, Not gluten free) If I didn’t already know these were vegetarian I would never have guessed. My only complaint is that the filing only fills 2/3rds of the width.

Best Dairy Free Ice Cream

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Perfect World, Caramel Pecan Ice Cream (Vegan, gluten free) This is full of flavour and vitamins and minerals. Personally, I’d have made the pecans chunkier but I’d still buy it again.

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Cornetto Vegan (Vegan, gluten free) The only noticeable difference between these and the usual ones are that they’re quite a bit smaller.

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Ben & Jerry’s, Coconutterly Caramel’d Ice Cream (vegan, gluten free) Gorgeous! As good as Chunky Monkey, almost as good as Cookie Dough :op

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Bouja – Bouja, Caramel Pecan Praline Ice Cream (dairy free, gluten free, organic) Very strong – almost smokey – flavour, really creamy consistency but the pecans and pralines are too blended. I add broken up digestive biscuits for more texture.

Snacks and Treats

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Manomasa, Tortillas (gluten free, dairy free) – Full of flavour and perfect for scooping up dips.

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Bouja-Bouja Chocolate Truffle Collection (dairy and gluten free) – Vanilla and rhubarb, cherry, salted caramel, caramel, hazelnut, ginger, rum, Champaign, espresso are the flavours in these truffle selections. Possibly the best dairy free chocolate in the world.

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KIND Snack Bars Caramel, Almond & Sea Salt (gluten free, NOT dairy free). Dark Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt (gluten free, dairy free). Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate (gluten free, dairy free). These are expensive at £1.50 each (!) but they are full of complementary flavours and really substantial.

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Genius Double Chocolate/Blueberry Muffins (gluten free, dairy free) Nommmmmm, that’s my breakfast and supper, right there.

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The Coconut Collaborative, Banoffee Pots (dairy free, gluten free) If you are getting these teeny pots of joy for your kids, you’ll want to buy a second lot for yourself – believe! Similar to creme caramel that’s been stirred around but with the addition of banana.

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Gu, Strawberry & Rhubarb/Lemon Cheescakes (gluten free, dairy free) Not quite as solid as traditional cheesecake but equally delicious, these two flavours are both sweet and refreshing.

Manchester Vegan Takeaway/Dinner

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V Revolution This is the place for an incredibly creative take on traditional American junk food. Vegan mains, sides, milkshakes, cocktails and cake. The atmosphere is pop-culture with a twist. In the photo above my expression is a mix of excitement and wondering how the hell I’m going to fit this burger in my mouth!

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Zad’s Vegan with very little gf options but incredibly well thought out food. The ZFC (rather than KFC) fried cauliflower is an utter revelation, the pizzas and burgers are well balanced and not too sweet and they sometimes give away free cupcakes. Hardly any remote customer service but lovely and friendly in person.

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Vegan Shack This is the place to order from if you are either dairy free or vegan and gluten free as they have gf options of pizza (including the above topping) and one of their kebabs (on request). Their online customer service is fantastic and delivery times are reasonable. My only complaint is that the cheese is on the sweet side as is the sauce. More salt please!

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Pizza Express They have many gf, df and veggie option for mains, sides and deserts and can be flexible (up to a point) with changing food to suit dietary needs. It will be such a shame when they cease trading late next year.

Bonus

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Aside from the Gu, these are free-from items I like but don’t absolutely love. Clive’s gf pies are surprisingly good microwaved (like a chip shop Pudding); This Gosh! falafel is the best falafel I’ve tried; Dragon fly make small but substantial gf burgers; Soulful pots make two wonderful nut curries/meals that I would happily pay for in a restaurant. Their other options have the usual veggie/bean tangine flavours.

I hope you found this helpful and it gave you food for thought – sorry!

🍔Chrissie🍔

 

 

GOSH Veggie Cocktail Sausages

These are not like the ones you’d get at 1980’s parties on sticks with pineapple, these are like mini Cumberland (UK) sausages.

They are very soft and almost bread-like unless you grill or fry them as they don’t have a skin around them. I really like them in a sun dried tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad.

These taste very strongly of sage, so if you just warmed them up (rather than properly cooking them like I have here), they could make a good gluten free alternative to stuffing balls.

Free From

  • Egg
  • Dairy
  •  Nut
  • Soya

Rating (as actual cocktail sausages) 1/5

🎄Chrissie🎄

Vegan Shack Review Manchester

I first heard of Vegan Shack from the Manchester Vegetarian and Vegan Group on Facebook. MVVG are a friendly bunch and so helpful (anyone who gets arsey and argumentative, rather than constructive, get called out by moderators or other members)   they are worth checking out.

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Menu

Vegan Shack provide all of our vegan junk food desires, including kebabs, pizzas, burgers, ‘chicken’ poppers, frickles (fried pickles) garlic dough balls and loaded fries. They deliver around a large radius of Central/South Manchester so Chorlton is included and I think they just about cover Denton, I’m not sure about North Manchester, sorry!

The five gluten free offerings on the menu are three pizzas, basic fries and on request kebabs too! I chose the Chick n’ Chunk with a 10″ stone baked base (my fave) tomato and herb sauce, ‘cheese’ and strips of ‘chicken’.

Ordering

I used the website on my iPad and it kept saying there was something wrong and to try ordering something different (even though what I’d chosen wasn’t ‘sold out’). I gave up in the end and asked the online customer service person. They were incredibly helpful and told me to give them my order and they would do it for me. My food arrived so fast, I’d not even sat down on the couch and got settled for the evening!

The Pizza

The problem I’ve always had with vegan cheese is that it’s too sweet and when paired with a fairly sweet (but tasty) tomato sauce you have a very un-savoury pizza. The ‘chicken’ strips had a realistic texture and really balanced out the overall flavour. I ended up scraping off half of the cheese (which they were almost too generous with) and adding a lot of salt. Then it tasted awesome!

Verdict

I would say Vegan Shack is up there with V Revolution and Zads when it comes to creativity but a hot dog option and some deserts would be great additions.

Chrissie

Breakfast, Dinner or Tea?

I only got out of bed just over two and a half hours ago so who knows lol

Corn thins with dairy free spread, cucumber, sun-dried tomato (out of a jar, not those plastic unrecyclable tubs, cheaper too) with oregano, artichoke hearts (again out of a jar) and jalapeños. I did eat a giant handful of salted, roasted cashews before this so protein isn’t an issue, for anyone wondering.

🖤✨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

 

The Basic Skincare Regimen That’s Made a Huge Difference

The reason for my delicate snowflake skin

As a (sometimes) beauty blogger I used throw an awful lot of different brands and products at my skin; no wonder it was so confused! It would go from too oily to really dry within hours and sometimes it would be oily but dehydrated at the same time. I was also eating a lot of dairy (the reason for so many spots) and gluten (the reason for redness, water retention and inflammation). Nowadays I eat a mainly free-from diet with just one cheat day a week and stick to these gentle skincare items.

My skins needs

My face doesn’t seem to shed old skin cells very well, resulting in dullness, blocked pores and poor absorption of products so a frequent radiance peel is so helpful! Although I don’t have sensitive skin, it does still get red easily because of allergies or sudden temperature changes so products that are calming and balancing are also a must. I feel there’s room to fit in a pampering sheet mask as recommended by the awesome Hunida over at Hunida’s Blog or a pink clay mask to reduce my pores, once a week.

The wonder products!

B. Miceller Water to cleanse twice a day. The least drying and most effective cleanser/toner I’ve tried.

Murad Intensive Radiance Peel, twice a week. Gentle enough for my skin with natural acids.

Nip+Fab Hyaluronic acid everyday. Helps skin to absorb moisture from the atmosphere and my moisturiser.

Weleda Pomegranate Body Lotion, everyday. The naturally occurring Vit C in this calms redness and inflammation. It’s also so light but hydrating my face loves this as well as my body.

Weleda Pomegranate Body oil, everyday. This has totally rescued my pout from cracking in drying central heating. Vit C also helps to regulate sebum production.

What are your everyday must haves?

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

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