Thursday, 21 January 2016

NEW Plenish Almond Milk

Are you aware that your average almond milk contains 2% actual almond?

It's amazing how many people are astonished that almond milk actually doesn't contain that much almond at all. In fact recently, there was some court case in America about it (see here). To understand why, this is so, you need to have some idea of how it's made. 

Basically almond milk is made by soaking then blending almonds before straining water through them. You can do it yourself, at home, with the aid of a blender and a nut milk bag. See this recipe  or this recipe to find out how. Once you've made your 'milk', you can then add a sweetener of your choice and, if you're a manufacturer, you may made add extra vitamin supplements and thickeners as well.

Why am I waffling on about all this? Well, new to the market is a new almond milk, which unlike the others on the market is made with a greater level of almond - 7% in fact. You might well wonder whether an extra 3% makes all that much of a difference, so did I, so I decided to find out.

Here it is:

NEW Plenish Almond Milk


Straight away, as you look at the packaging, it's obvious that this is a drink that is aimed at the health market. Health buzzwords like: 'organic',  'nutrition', 'natural', 'simple', etc. are plastered all over the place. I'm not here for a health fix, I just want a decent milk substitute. So, what is it like?


What is it like?

First glance, at the milk as I pour it out, it definitely appears to be slightly thicker than the brand leader. I taste it. It's unsweetened. Generally I prefer sweetened almond milk, so I probably wouldn't drink it by itself, but of course you can flavour it yourself, if you like. It has a pleasant creaminess, that comes through on cereal and works well in custard, I could see myself using it in rice pudding, too. I like it. 

'Baby' is not so keen. Even in custard. But like I've said before, she is extremely sensitive to tastes and can distinguish between brands, so she's a tricky little girl to please!


What's in it?

Three ingredients: Almond (7%), Filtered water, Himalayan Salt. At this point I'm not so impressed! It calls itself an 'organic almond drink' but two of the ingredients are starred. Actually, the water and the salt are not organic. Hmm! Not so organic then, in my opinion! Apparently it's not possible to claim that water or salt is organic, but given that water is the main ingredient... It's definitely something worth bearing in mind, when looking at other 'organic' drinks too!

As it's a drink manufactured for the health market, and supposedly organic, there are no added vitamins or minerals (as in some of the mainstream brands), and for that reason I wouldn't drink it everyday - I tend to make up some of my daily calcium allowance from dairy free milk, so maybe it's something I would use if I wanted to make something particularly more creamy.

It does, to be fair, contain some naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin E and Copper, but for me, as on the whole I think I eat a fairly balanced diet,  it's calcium and Vitamin D that are my main concern.

Where it majorly differs from other almond milk is in the calorie content. This is something that interests me, as young children who are dairy free need a higher calorie content in their milk. Not containing any added sugar, the calorie content in this milk comes purely from the almonds from which it is made. That said, it still doesn't match up to the calorie content of the Alpro Plus 1 Soya milk that is usually recommended for young children (over the age of one). Neither does it contain as much in the way of protein - also important for growing little 'uns. Alpro Plus 1 contains more protein - much nearer the amount contained in cow's milk. See this post for a comparison or the values of the main brands.


Nutritional info.

Allergen information:

Obviously, it contains nuts - specifically almonds - and these are highlighted in the ingredients. It says it's dairy free. Although there are no gluten-containing ingredients, there is no claim to be gluten free, so presumably they've decided not to test it for the purposes of accreditation. That doesn't mean it's NOT okay, just that it's not been tested to prove it.


Cost?


Hmm! Not cheap!! At Ocado (if you're quick) it is currently £2.99. It's soon going to be priced at £3.49. That's almost £2 more than the brand leader in almond milk, but slightly cheaper than Rude Health, another Organic brand (which contains 8% almond).


Where can I buy it?

Ocado. Their range of juices are sold mainly  through certain London outlets, so I imagine they will soon also become available in the same stores. For a list of current stockists, see here.


And also...

Can be stored at room temperature, until opened.



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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Easy peasy... dairy free banana custard

There you have it!
If I say 'au chocolat' does it make it sound a bit.. y'know more sophisticated? 

No? 

Ah well!

We don't normally 'do' dessert, but the Kiddo has been getting ideas - from school. She is now asking what she is going to be having for dessert. 

Agh! 

Casting my mind back to my childhood, tonight I opted for something nice and easy, and hopefully (thanks to the banana) something with a healthy element to it as well.  Kiddo loved it, so much so that she's asked for it tomorrow night too... minus the banana (sigh)!!

Ho hum!!

This dessert is a blast from my childhood. When I was little, Mum was concerned about us getting enough calcium. So much so, that we had custard pretty much every night, in some form or another. She also wanted to get fruit and veg. into us - sound familiar???

Now I'm facing the same kind of thing with my Kiddo, it seems like my Mum was on to something. Banana custard is warm, comforting and so easy to make, you can't go wrong! Although, actually, once I did... but that's because I didn't follow the instructions and added the paste into the saucepan of milk, rather than the other way around. Let's just say the custard proved irretrievable!


Ingredients:

2 tbsp Bird's custard powder
2 tbsp Golden syrup or sugar
1 pint Almond Milk (or whichever other milk you fancy)
2 chopped Bananas 
Grated dairy free dark chocolate (like Kinnerton) or dairy free chocolate drops (like Moofree) to sprinkle


This Kinnerton chocolate is great for cooking!

Method:

1. Basically, you measure 1 pint of milk and pour most, but not quite all of it of it into a no-stick saucepan and heat it. You need it to come to the boil. Keep back about 2 tablespoon's in a glass or ceramic jug.

2. Whilst waiting for the milk to boil, mix 2 tablespoon's of *Bird's custard powder with either 2 tablespoon's of golden syrup or sugar with the milk reserved from the pint. I recommend the syrup, as it makes it really moreish. If you want to use something less refined, try maple syrup, instead.

3. When the milk in the saucepan is nearly at boiling point (wait for little tiny bubbles to form all around the edge of the pan), pour it into the mixture you made in the jug. Stir thoroughly.

4. Pour the complete mixture back into the pan and return the mixture to the boil, stirring slowly, all the time. If you use a more viscous milk, like Koko coconut milk, the custard will thicken more rapidly, than with almond milk. With almond milk, keep the mixture at boiling point and keep stirring until the mixture begins to reduce and thicken, to your required consistency. Bear in mind that the custard will need to cool a bit before being eaten and will thicken as it cools.

5. Pour your custard into dessert bowls. Place about 1/2 of the chopped banana in each dish. Sprinkle grated chocolate or chocolate drops on top.

6. Enjoy!


Serves 4... or 2, if you're feeling hungry! ;)


The custard powder of my childhood!

* Custard is normally made with eggs, but there are no eggs in Bird's custard, unlike the posh custard you get in restaurants, because it was invented by a chap whose wife was allergic to egg.


It is also gluten free and soya free. It can be made nut free too (depending on which milk you use).


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Sunday, 10 January 2016

The Great Big Dairy Free Easter Egg Hunt 2016

Oh it's coming soon! 

Easter, I mean! 

And the Great Big Dairy Free Easter Hunt has already begun!!

Last year I left it a bit late, so this year I'm trying to give folks advance notice! For those who think I'm too early, well Easter is earlier this year and as the Daily Mail noted the other week, free from Easter eggs  have already hit the shelves of some Sainsbury's stores! 

Looks like Sainsbury's packaging remains the same, this year!

And, as I spotted this week, Asda's Easter bunny has been just a little busy too! Other stores will undoubtedly follow suit soon, but panic ye not, if your Sainsbury's or Asda has yet to deliver - there are other options that will become available to you sooner or later, so this year's post, is going to try and give you some idea of what to look out for! 


Further updates will be brought to you via our Facebook page 'Dairy Free Baby and Me' or Twitter and hopefully will eventually make their way onto this post, so keep your eyes peeled!



In the Shops:


Back again this year are the handy tables, that proved so useful last year - hopefully from these you will be able to see which chocolates are likely to prove best for you! 




Dairy Free

Gluten Free

Soya Free

Nut Free

Vegan


Booja Booja



Y


Y


Y

-

Y

Choices/
Supermarket own


Y


Y

Soya Lecithin

Y

Y

Kinnerton



Y

Y

Soya Lecithin

Y
Y


Moo Free



Y

Y

Y

May contain

Y

Plamil



Y

Y

May Contain

Y

Y

Please note:
'Y' means 'yes'
'N' means 'no'

'Soya lecithin' has been indicated specifically, as most people allergic to soya are supposed to be okay with the lecithin which has had the allergenic part (the protein) removed. However, this is not the case for all, so if in doubt, always check with your HCP (healthcare professional).

'May contain' tends to indicate that this product has been made in a factory which uses a certain product e.g. milk/nuts. 

Some stores have yet to stock their eggs, but as the Sainsbury's and Asda selections for this year look incredibly similar to last year, I'm predicting the following: 

Choices and Supermarket own brands 
(Choices, under the umbrella company of Celtic Chocolates also make the supermarket 'own' brand eggs)

A great dairy free 'milk' chocolate brand, from Ireland. They have their usual offerings available, some larger, some small, with the option of a 'white chocolate' egg and 'milk' and 'white chocolate bunnies'. 

Great value!

They have a dark chocolate egg too. However, although they're widespread some of the packaging might vary, as most of the supermarket own brands are just the same, but with their own pretty packaging on top. 

Asda's look exactly the same as last year! The price is the same, too!



Small White Egg
Small Milk Choc.Egg
Milk Egg with Choc. Disc
Milk Egg with Caramels
Dark Choc. Egg
Choc. Bunny

Asda


-


-


*£3.00

-

-

£0.99

Tesco


-


-

-

-

-

Y
(white only)

Morrison’s


-

-

-

-

-

-

Sainsbury’s


*£2.50


-

*£3.50

£3.50

£3.50

£1.00

Waitrose


-

-

-

-

-

-

Ocado


Y

-

-

-

-

Y
Holland & Barrett


£2.79

£2.79

£4.99

£6.49

£4.99

£1.25
(white only)

TKMaxx






Y

*Supermarket ‘own brand’


'Y' indicates that I think they will stock it, from what they've done in previous years.

Prices supplied where known, other prices will be added as they become known. It's interesting to note that Asda have kept to the same prices as last year, whereas Sainsbury's seem to have gone up by 1p each!


Moo Free Chocolates:

A very popular choice of 'milk' chocolate for dairy free chocolate lovers, this company's profile has just grown and grown! Their organic medium size egg come in four flavours: Original, Bunnycomb (honeycomb) and Orange.

This year their packaging has obviously had a revamp!


Moo Free Milk Chocolate
Moo Free Orange Flavour
Moo Free Bunnycomb

Asda


-


-


-

Tesco


-


-

-

Morrison’s


-

-

-

Sainsbury’s


£4.00


-

-

Waitrose


Y

Y

Y

Ocado


£3.99

£3.99

£3.99

Holland & Barrett


£4.99

£4.99

£4.99

Holland and Barrett tend to price Moo Free eggs higher to begin with, but may suddenly add in a seasonal offer later, which may work out cheaper, but this is a bit of a gamble. Theirs are only available online at the mo.


Kinnerton:

Kinnerton produce a dark style dairy free chocolate. Speaking as someone who prefers milk chocolate, this one is fairly easy on the palate.

No change here, then!



Kinnerton Dark Chocolate Egg
Kinnerton Dark Chocolate
Bunny

Asda


*


*


Tesco


Y


Y

Morrison’s


-

-

Sainsbury’s


£6.00


-

Waitrose


-

-

Ocado


-

Y

Holland & Barrett


-

-

Home Bargains


Y

-

*available last year, but not yet spotted this year, although other eggs are on their shelves


Mark's and Spencer also stocked this egg, last year, but in their own packaging. See here:

You'd never know it was the same egg, from the packaging!

Curiously though, they did not claim it was nut free, as Kinnerton do with theirs! Most confusing!



Booja Booja:

Definitely a luxury brand, and not so widely available, these are usually quite a bit more expensive. For your money to get a hand crafted papier mache egg, which encases the most delicious chocolate truffles.

A touch of class



Large Booja Booja Egg
Small Booja Booja Egg

Asda


-


-


Tesco


-


-

Morrison’s


-

-

Sainsbury’s


-


-

Waitrose


-

-

Ocado


Y

Y
Holland & Barrett


-

Y


Plamil:

Made with organic chocolate, until fairly recently, they were only available online (via Plamil's online shop, or online Free From or Vegan sites) or in independent health food stores, these are now usually available through Holland and Barrett, where they are £3.99. 

Plamil now also usually make an own brand egg for Holland and Barrett, for exactly the same price, just different packaging!

Cute packaging!

Plamil make an Easter bunny(£12,5 at Holland & Barrett) as well as a packet of mini chocolate halves (£5.99 from Holland & Barrett) which are perfect for Easter egg hunts, especially when they're encased in plastic eggs from Poundland!



Online Brands:

If you can't find the chocolate you want locally, there are places to look online. Check out the following brands:


Ayni

Ayni's range is all handmade raw chocolate, which is  dairy, gluten, nut and soya free and suitable for Vegans. I haven't tried it, so can't vouch for the quality, although Umm assures me it is lovely, but last year there was plenty of choice on the website. 




Cocoa Libre


This chocolate I have tried and can vouch for! They are very yummy indeed!! A full review of what I made of them can be found by following this link. No Easter eggs as such but last year they brought out some Easter chicks to add to their little lambs!

You can buy Cocoa Libre online from their website, or through the stockists listed on their website, see here. Some of Cocoa Libre's range can also be bought online from Holland and Barrett.


D and D Chocolates

From what I understand, their chocolate is supplied by Plamil, so meets the same standard. Their range is great for any dairy free Easter egg hunts. You can view it here.

These small solid chocolate eggs (they had new packaging last year) have proved very useful in the past!

We love these!

For those who prefer it, they also do a range of carob.


Lots of this None of that

Not a brand I've tried, but available through Holland and Barrett, I notice they have brought out a chocolate bunny for £1.25



Online Stores:

There are a number of online shops that stock dairy free Easter eggs, some of which have already mentioned, along with a few other tasty treats. These stores include:




And finally...

If you're not milk allergic, or don't need to worry about 'may contain', then you may be okay with brands such as Montezuma's, Hotel Chocolat or check out the dark chocolate from Divine and Green and Blacks.

Made without dairy but not suitable for those with milk allergy


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