An egg-cellent replacer?

Eggs. That one simple word brings me so much joy.  I LOVE eggs.  Scrambled, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, poached, omelleted, mixing it with veg/salads/rice, fried over a crispy gluten-free toast…any concoction you can think of that would have eggs in or on it, I will devour.

Over the last year I have had to cut out a lot of foods but I refused to cut out eggs – I had read about the dangerous effects of eggs – too many will cause you cholesterol, hard-boiled will cause you constipation, non-organic will be pumped full of chemicals, organic eggs are smaller and so forth. However for some reason I never bought into the horrors of eggs as I did with other food products.  I saw them as my one thing that my digestive system couldn’t take away from me and out of sheer stubbornness refused to give them up.

Now as the market trend points towards veganism, with more and more people adopting this lifestyle –I also contemplated it. But the thought of giving up eggs was the one thing I couldn’t quite fully accept.  My mind-set had become so stuck in eggs being a saviour for me that letting go of it seemed impossible.

So I did what any other rational person would do – I googled! Searches showed me of course replacements for eggs in baking and cooking but I couldn’t seem to find an alternative to eating eggs as they were.  Then as the universe would have it, I was offered to review a product that seemed to hear my plea for non-egg eggs. It was also combatting the bad things I heard about eggs such as being cholesterol free and providing fibre as well so was definitely worth a try.

Orgran Vegan Easy Egg

Rating: 7 out of 10

Appeals to: vegans, free-from consumers.

Packaging

The product comes in a bright yellow (naturally) rectangular cardboard box, large enough to make it feel like a substantial size but yet still small enough to be able to pour/tip the product. My first impressions was that it did not look like an egg carton which made me contemplate how could I make boiled eggs from this?!  The writing on the front clearly pointed out all the free-from benefits (it’s not only egg-free but gluten-free, wheat free, dairy free, soy free and yeast free), however the box was covered in writing on all sides making it a little difficult to read the main pointers you need.  Instructions on the back of the box explaining how to make the product with graphics were very helpful.

Price

£4.45. I was kindly provided some samples but a quick search online showed me the price range and it felt quite high.  Although the packaging details that the product is equivalent to 15 eggs, it still seems vegan/free from products will continue to carry the high price tag as it’s not a mainstream lifestyle.

Delivery

The product itself is a flour-based mix. You need to add water and oil to it, to then be able to make a mixture.  This you would then cook as you would normally cook scrambled eggs, an omelette or even make a frittata or quiche.  However if you fancy boiled or poached – this obviously isn’t the answer for that!  It is as quick and easy as it is to whisk eggs.  The taste however is not quite as straight-forward, it tasted a little stringy.  On a second batch I added in some other herbs and spices which whilst covering it up could not deter from the rubbery taste.  Looking at the ingredients I could understand why there was a chewy-feel to it – with a host of stabilisers in the product it may not be the most nutritional of products but for a quick breakfast or evening meal it does the job.  Add a few spices or flavourings to it and it’s a go-to product on those days when you just don’t have enough time.  Whilst not quite tasting the same as eggs, I can see how this can be a replacer for those who don’t want to or cannot tolerate eggs.

Verdict: in a word – easy. This is a go-to quick and easy food item.  However if you’re looking for taste then it maybe doesn’t quite hit the mark.  Spice it up with herbs and flavours and it may just be enough.

Details: http://www.orgran.com/products/vegan-easy-egg-2/

I would love to hear your thoughts if you have tried this product – feel free to leave comments below.

Guest Blogger: Mrs M.

About Me

As a person with a recently diagnosed sensitive digestive system, I’m now on a path to make sure I eat well whilst still enjoying myself. Having been fearful of food, I now love finding new products, going to new restaurants to try new twists on dishes and am constantly looking for quirky items to consume.  I’m a huge supporter of simple food that is made tasty with the right combination of ingredients and more importantly enjoying your food and diet in a balanced way.  That means I always have room for my favourite item – chocolate!

 

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Free-From Fudge Fun!

As a free-from eater I have grown used to passing (also read as – missing out) on food items. Whilst there are now an abundance of free-from items available , there are still many branded goods that I cannot eat – wagon wheels, walkers crisps, cadbury’s chocolate fingers to name a few.  Alternatives are of course available, but sometimes you want the real mccoy.

However one growing trend of the free-from market is the up-take of established brands to cater for the variety of food consumers that now make up the marketplace. Many branded food manufacturers are now going the extra mile to make their popular edible products available in dairy free and/or gluten free options too.

This is great news for ‘fussy-eaters’ like myself – we actually do get to have our cake and eat it. But alongside the obvious benefit of enjoying the real deal, there is a deeper benefit to this trend.  By companies going out of their way to include free-from eaters as part of their clientele, they are making their own attempts to create a more inclusive society.  The amount of times I have felt ‘left out’ because I couldn’t enjoy the same items as friends or family from gifts or eating out are too numerous to count.  So when companies expand their range – they are doing much more than building their own business, they are giving joy to thousands of free-from consumers who have for far too long not been able to enjoy branded products.

northernmunkeebites.fudgekitchen2Fudge Kitchen – Dairy-free fudge, Dairy-free drinking fudge and sugar-free peanut brittle.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Appeals to: dairy-free consumers and fudge lovers!

Packaging

All 3 of these products come packaged slightly differently…

A selection of the dairy-free fudge in 4 different flavours came wrapped up in a luxury deep chocolate brown box – making it a perfect gift, for others or yourself. With gold lettering and minimal detail, it adds to air of mystery. Ingredients are listed on the bottom – so discreet. Each slice of fudge was individually wrapped in tissue paper, and the smell as you opened the box….sigh!

The dairy-free drinking fudge was a selection of again, different flavours, in a small boxnorthernmunkeebites.fudgekitchen3 with strips of colour dripping down the white coloured box. Pleasing to the eye and again giving off an air of luxury it would not go amiss in a gift hamper, or displayed proudly in your kitchen.  Each sachet is carefully packed inside making it easy to select which flavour you fancy.

The sugar-free peanut brittle is boxed in a light tan colour with minimalist writing. northernmunkeebites.fudgekitchen1The golden writing makes this a luxurious product but on a more accessible level.  It feels like it’s a box you would reach for when you have a few hours to yourself to indulge.

Price

£16.00 for a 4 slice dairy-free fudge box.

£10.00 for dairy-free drinking fudge

£6.50 for sugar free peanut brittle

The price points for the products are aimed at the more discerning consumer. Whilst they are appear at the higher end of the price range, these are artisan products and considering this, the price range seems fair.  What makes it fair value as well is that these products are not to be consumed in one go but rather to be enjoyed slowly and over time.  This makes the price points far more reasonable.

Delivery

Each of these products are exquisite. There’s no two ways about it – the care and craftsmanship gone into produce these products make your taste buds come alive.

Out of the 4 flavours, I have only tasted the dairy-free sea salted caramel fudge as yet, but it took a lot of willpower not to devour this in one go. The mix of crunch on the first bite with a soft centre makes this a tasting sensation. There are also pieces of sea-salt mixed within the fudge which provides different textures as  you let this sit on your tongue to melt slowly.  It surprised me this was dairy-free as the rich taste of it made me think there must be milk in it but there definitely isn’t – so there was no difference in taste of this versus a dairy-full fudge.

The dairy-free drinking fudge is no different. A rich luxurious hot drink this oozes flavour and warms the whole body – with serious contentment.  I had the cinnamon spice flavour and although its summer, it just made me wish for winter so that I can enjoy this again in front of a roaring fire!

Sugar-free peanut brittle – this was the surprise product for me. Although not a fudge-based product, the company are clearly trying to cater for different tastes.  The snap of peanut coated in a sugar-free caramel base provided me with a moor-ish new snack that had no different in taste despite using sugar alternatives.  Letting this melt in your mouth literally allows you to truly experience the different textures of crunch against gooey-ness.

Verdict: in a word – exquisite. These products are for luxury moments.  The self-indulgence of the fudge and the peanut brittle makes these ideal for treating – yourself or others.  What makes these extra special is the fact that you can consume these knowing you are not missing out on taste but can experience the same delight as a dairy-free consumer.

Details: http://www.fudgekitchen.co.uk/index.asp

I would love to hear your thoughts if you have tried this product – feel free to leave comments below.

Guest Blogger: Mrs. M.

About Me

As a person with a recently diagnosed sensitive digestive system, I’m now on a path to make sure I eat well whilst still enjoying myself. Having been fearful of food, I now love finding new products, going to new restaurants to try new twists on dishes and am constantly looking for quirky items to consume.  I’m a huge supporter of simple food that is made tasty with the right combination of ingredients and more importantly enjoying your food and diet in a balanced way.  That means I always have room for my favourite item – chocolate!

 

The Frill of Healthy Ice-Cream!

With the sun beating brightly on the UK over the last week or so, the country has basked in its glory in the only way we know how – by eating. Al fresco dining, juice breakfasts, salad lunches and of course a truly authentic summer delight – ice-cream.  Whilst ice-cream is consumed all year round, there’s something different to the feeling of sitting in the park, sun hat on and a crunchy cone in your hand with the sticky filling dripping onto your hand.  It takes you back to childhood memories when life was so much breezier.

Yet when you have become dairy-free through different reasons from allergies to intolerances to health reasons to just choosing to be dairy-free, it’s not always easy (or fair) to miss out on what is a universal feel-good feeling. However the ever creative innovators out there always come to the rescue to make us ‘foodie outsiders’ to feel part of the crowd.  The growth in dairy-free products, including ice-cream, has been manifold over recent years with it no longer being seen as a ‘difficult’ food adjustment but part and parcel of daily life.

However for the health conscious amongst us, having dairy-free ice-cream is stull full of sugars and whilst a treat is part of a balanced attitude, if there are products that can cater for healthy dairy-free ice-cream consumers, (not a tall ask!) then count me in. Such products do exist and trying to source these is of paramount importance – because no doubt the UK will go back to its dull and cold weather quicker than it takes the time for the melting ice-cream to fall onto your lap!

northernmunkeebites.frill2Frill The Frozen Smoothie: Intense Chocolate

Rating: 7 out of 10

Appeals to: dairy-free consumers, health conscious eaters, chocolate lovers

Packaging

A huge tub of ice-cream is always a good sign and this product comes in just that – a large circular tub. The chocolate brown colour is not the most imaginative and at first I didn’t quite connect the image of a polar bear to ice-cream but I can only assume it’s due to the connection of cold.  The cardboard tub is also quite standard and perhaps not even the most sturdiest.  However the writing on the tub is attractive with the name of the product eye-catching and information on ingredients being simple and clear.

Price

£4.99 (Waitrose.com) – for the health conscious consumer, the price point is in line with other products of this ilk. The tub is a large size and feels like good value for money.  However for those who just want dairy-free ice cream (without any health benefits), this perhaps may feel a little too steep.

Delivery

This product is not marketed as a dairy-free ice-cream but as a frozen smoothie. However on consuming this particular flavour it does taste quite ice-cream like – creamy and milky which is a pleasant surprise.  You can most definitely taste the flavour of the cocoa and the hint of elderflower adds a slightly refreshing flavour to the chocolate.   What adds to this is the fact that there is high fibre content and natural sugars due to the ingredients used, so you really are consuming a healthier treat.  You don’t need to consume copious amounts to get that satisfied feeling, although that’s a personal choice and no doubt you can easily finish the tub in one sitting if you so choose to! It is very more-ish and you don’t feel like you’re missing out by not having a dairy-ful ice-cream.

Verdict – in a word, flavoursome. This product is an example of substance winning over packaging as it’s tasty and satisfies a craving whilst providing some health benefits too.

Details: https://www.frill.eu/

Thanks for taking the time to read and feel free to leave your comments below.

Guest Blogger: Mrs M.

About Me

As a person with a recently diagnosed sensitive digestive system, I’m now on a path to make sure I eat well whilst still enjoying myself. Having been fearful of food, I now love finding new products, going to new restaurants to try new twists on dishes and am constantly looking for quirky items to consume.  I’m a huge supporter of simple food that is made tasty with the right combination of ingredients and more importantly enjoying your food and diet in a balanced way.  That means I always have room for my favourite item – chocolate!

 

Eating Well This January: Eating In

OK, so I’m going to assume that a lot of you are like me in that you may have overindulged a little over the Christmas break; am I right? Well if you’ve done that then you probably also spent most of the Twixmas period trying to eat all the bad things left in the house before January arrives; still on track? Now it’s time to admit that you’ve started making strange noises when you raise yourself out of a chair and to do something about it.

I’m not into that ‘New Year, New Me’ bullshit but I do believe that making lifestyle changes can provide a good platform to being a bit happier and a bit healthier. So, I’m on a quest to find ways to eat well but improve my health at the same time.

Mrs Munkee and I have opted to give the paleo diet a try. Now, I’m not usually a fad-follower but I want to get my mission into print then I will feel more obliged to stick to it and will be publically shamed if I fail! I do want to be clear though: this does NOT mean that I will be neglecting my duties as a Food Adventurer. Instead, what I want to do is find ways to eat great food that fit within the parameters of a healthy lifestyle and food routine.

Please don’t be alarmed though. January’s blog series won’t be preachy and I won’t be turning into a spandex-clad-Mr Motivator-look-a-like. It’s just another leg to my Food Adventure.

Buko Coconut Jam

Rating: 7.5/10

Appeals to: lifestyle managers, competent culinologists and DIY foodies

Packaging

The spreads market is very crowded but it doesn’t take much to interrupt the fixture and the shopper. Buko’s simple technique of using a different shape jar and more vibrant colours will achieve that disruption. The packaging also emanates healthy cues and communicates what it is and what it should be bought very quickly and simply.

Price

£4.50 – £5.00 – I’ve said this in previous blogs but price points are a tool that manufacturers can use to set customer expectations. What would you think of a product that claimed to be healthy and luxurious but was selling for 32p…erm, what’s the catch, right? Buko’s price point isn’t cheap but it is appropriate for the market.

Delivery

This is my second round of reviewing Buko’s Coconut Jams so I have a bit of an advantage here.

Instead of just tucking in with a spoon I used these widely diverse jams in a number of different ways: to accompany meat, to flavour smoothies, to work through porridge, to bake with and even to enhance sauces.

Verdict – in a word, versatile! These coconut jams should be a staple for any healthy warriors cupboard as a brilliant defence against the bland. Keep it coming Buko!

Details: www.bukofoods.com

Northern Munkee.

 

Food Review of Christmas 2016

Well, the decorations should now be stuffed back into the loft, the ‘good’ cutlery should have returned to hibernation and the last scraps of turkey should have been consumed. Christmas 2016 is done.

So I want to take this opportunity to look back at my personal Christmas and some of the brilliant food discoveries I made…

Preparation is Everything 

northernmunkeebites.roastpots.JPG

If you speak to Mrs Munkee, she’ll tell you that I can get quite stressed in the kitchen. If there’s ever a moment when I run out of workspace it’s just not worth being in the vicinity for fear of a passive aggressive torrent of abuse. So, this year, as a pre-emptive strike, I sought advice from Master Chef DGH on how to reduce the work on the big day.

I already do the majority of the vegetable preparations the day before but the gem I will keep with me for life is freezing roast potatoes. As well as being a god-send for timing on the day these were the best spuds I’ve ever tasted; a brilliant sweet, crispy and fluffy tatty!

Here’s DGH’s recipe.

Your Turkey Needs Good Friends 

If you’re like me you’ll see the benefit of investing in a quality bird however if you’re going to surround it with sub-standard accompaniments then you might as well pluck and roast a sparrow.

I would always recommend making as much as you can manage from scratch however, we all know that a little help in December is welcomed. So here are a couple of fantastic products that did my meal proud:

Mr Crumb Stuffing

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I can understand if you’re offended by the idea of buying in stuffing, I get it; but you’d be wrong.

This stuffing is superb. It is light, multi-textured, fresh and, best of all, very easy to do. Having this on my Christmas table offered a great sweet, spicy juxtaposition to juicy turkey.

Heck Festive Baubles

northernmunkeebites.heckchick.JPG

I first came across this company on an Alex Polizzi (check spelling) documentary and, it I’m honest, the show didn’t put them in the best light. If you take that as you’re only interaction with Heck then I feel sorry for you because their meat is phenomenal.

Heck produced a fresh meat selection just for Christmas called Baubles. These are little meatballs of high quality, high meat, high flavour greatness! One of my favourite elements of the Christmas meal are the pigs in blankets but I didn’t need them this year!

Merry Twixmas 

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t look forward to Twixmas, that joyous period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve when the world is still sleepy and we believe that we’re obliged to eat ALL the food in the house!

The question is, though, how do we make that Twixmas period extra special without completing the unthinkable task of leaving the house? This is what I did…

Just the Jelly 

northernmunkeebites-justthejelly

I love these little pots and I’ll tell you for why: their versatility. If you haven’t experienced this concept before they’re a rich jelly infusion with fantastically concentrated flavours. This year I used them as a meat accompaniment, a cheese accompaniment, a soup enhancer and a gravy enhancer!

Casa de Mont 

northernmunkeebites.cdm.JPG

I can’t tell you the amount of time I’ve salivated over these beauties and done nothing about it; but I decided this year I was going all out!

Not only is this ham incredibly tasty and last forever (slight exaggeration) but it also makes an impressive centre piece. I think I’ve started a new Twixmas tradition!

So, that’s enough turkey and tinsel reminiscing for one year. I love hearing from you all so leave me a comment below and let me know your fantastic festive food finds!

Northern Munkee.