December 23, 2011

What I’m Reading: The Last Food Allergy Surf '11

So in a couple days everything will be done and dusted. By Sunday, all that will be left to do is cook it, eat it and open it! I love Christmas. I always have, and I hope that I always will.
Over the month of December I've tried to aid you in your search for all the festive Food Allergy
Free alternatives that are available 'out there'. I hope that it's been of SOME help anyway.
I'm signing off now until after the holidays so I wish you a very very Merry Christmas, or Happy Holiday, or however you like to phrase it :) ... In the mean time, see below for some christmas crafts, last minute gifts, festive recipes, ways to entertain children, some general holiday food allergy reading and of course, my favourite, a little bit of eye candy.
Have a great one, don't drink and drive, don't eat too much and by all means STAY AWAY from your food allergens/intolerances.. it's never worth it!
With love, Aurea x

Food Allergy Talk:
Sometimes I think that we can go too far, but you never know:
Foods Matter: Becoming Truly Gluten Free

The wicked world of aspartame:
Foods Matter: Aspartame and Gulf War Syndrome

Something to keep in mind about Food Allergens and Alcohol over the holidays:
Avoiding Milk Protein: Allergens in Alcohol

In the Kitchen:
Inspirational Appetizers which, I’m sure with a bit of though and imagination, can be altered and re-jigged to suit we allergy free folk:
Simply Splendiferous: Christmas Leftovers: Some Ideas to Nibble On

Not Christmasy, just a good recipe to help you spice up your kale life:
Gluten Dairy Free: Asian Style Kale

Some mmm mmmm good looking Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free Biscotti (with some nice pictures):
Simply Gluten Free: Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Dairy Free & Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls that look AMAZing:
The Gluten Free Homemaker: Cinnamon Rolls - Gluten & Dairy Free

A Wonderful page of tempting pictures and links to Beyond Curries' Christmastime recipes such as a Fat Free Vegan Christmas Pudding, Vegan Truffles, Indian Fruit Salad, Strawberry Verrines:
Tongueticklers: Recipes for the Festive Season

Ways to Entertain Kids at Christmas - while creating nice memories... sigh :) :
Bake-able Gluten Free Christmas crafts & ornaments:
Gluten Free Girl: Gluten Free Salt Dough Ornaments

An Easy Peasy No-Bake Gluten Free & Dairy Free Christmas Cookie recipe (I LOVED baking when I was little!):
Simply Gluten Free: Gluten Free & Dairy Free NO Bake Snowball Cookies

Christmas Ideas (Gifts & Crafts):
Gift Ideas for yourself! - seeing as it’s way too late for Christmas gifts via the net! I saw these on The Food Allergy Queen (Like the Queen I love the ‘If Not for Gluten, I’d be Normal’ bag but I also LOVE the ‘Corn is Evil’ bag!:
Zazzle: Tote Bags Designed to Raise Food Allergy Awareness

The Best of the New Vegan Cookbooks (you might still find these in the shops if you go NOW):
Go Dairy Free: Best New GIft-Worthy Vegan Cookbooks

A cute present for a nut intolerant child (so sweet!):
Avoiding Milk Protein: Royally Allergic

A Little Bit of Eye-Candy:
Some Beautiful Allergy Free Food Photos for Dairy Free recipes using Kallo Organic Soy Drink (I’m sure any soya drink would do of course):
Gluten Dairy Free: Kallo Organic Soya Drinks

YUM...Just have a look around - esp. the vertical slide show on the bottom right:
Love Raw: Raw Candy eBook Update

...and something for all of you who are fed up of food and Christmas already! Here's some totally unrelated pics...

Just plain funny pics, in an arty way of course:
Julian Wolkenstein's The Postiche Collection

Scroll through to #7 wow!!!! ... the sand castle of my dreams!!!:
Kwaku Alston's Rebirth in Venice

ho, ho, ho!

December 22, 2011

The MOST AMAZING Gluten, Wheat, Dairy & Yeast Free Mince Pies

This is just a last minute post because my sister was given a gift of some 'Delicious Gourmet Foods Mince Pies'. These little pies are obviously made in heaven because not only are they Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Dairy Free and Yeast Free but they come in a box of six and are ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!

Myself and my Gluten and Wheat Free Mom were literally gob-smacked with the quality. The pastry is nothing less than AMAZING. It’s like a soft shortbread... no crispiness... no dryness... no ‘Gluten Free taste’... they were truly fabulous. Note that I am speaking in the past tense, because all 6 have already been devoured!
Added bonus is that there is no Potato Flour in the Gluten Free mix. I don’t know what they cost being a gift and all, but they were bought in Fallon & Byrne... And I promise, even if you are not Gluten Free or Dairy Free or Anything Free these little babies are the bees knees.

- Dairy Free (note: made in a bakery that handles milk)
- Gluten Free
- Wheat Free
- Yeast Free
- Potato Free

Ingredients: Flour (maize starch, soya flour, rice flour, modified maize starch, raising agent: (acid calcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), egg albumin (contains acidity regulator: citric acid, foaming agent: triethyl citrate), salt, calcium carbonate, anti caking agent (tri-calcium phosphate), stabiliser: (methyl hydroxypropyl cellulose), vitamin (B1, B2, niacin, C), Sugar, Margarine (veg oils, water, Emulsifier (E471, E435), Flavouring, Colour (E100, E160b)), Eggs, Lemon, Sultanas, Almonds, Spice, Orange, Xanthum Gum, Brandy
Warning: Made in a bakery that handles nuts eggs & milk

December 21, 2011

Food Allergy Friendly Christmas Pudding & Some Essential Free From Extras

Ok, we’re almost down to counting hours so now is the time to sort out the last bits and pieces for the big day and to DEFINITELY get your Allergy Friendly Free From Christmas Pudding if you haven’t already done so... and seriously, if you haven’t what are you waiting for!!? Christmas isn’t Christmas with a pudding! Well, at least I know that my sister would be sorely upset with any other Christmas Day dessert. But then again, we have been truly blessed with our baking magician of a Mom. She makes the MOST fabulous Plum Pudding. I hear people complain about this traditional dessert and have never understood because we have a pudding fit for kings every year. She always makes it Dairy Free and has been known to even make a little Gluten Free & Dairy Free variety for herself... and believe me, she wouldn’t eat just anything. I have tried her Gluten Free version and it’s awesome. Maybe some year, she will let me rob her recipe to share with everybody! ... But lets get down to business:

The Village Bakery Organic Gluten-Free Christmas Pudding (pictured in the title shot)
Nice, nutty, and you can definitely taste the carrot. Be sure to cook it all the way through. The upper center of mine was quite moist and almost runny which made for a sickly sweet gooey taste but the parts that were properly cooked had a good texture and displayed the flavours better. You wouldn’t necessarily know that the pudding is Gluten free and it is my favourite of the two I tested. The size would easily and generously feed two although non-savages could probably squeeze three servings out of it if you used smaller dessert cups. I think that the most impressive part of Village Bakery’s pudding is that it is so all-inclusive by being free of almost all the common food allergens - now thats the spirit of christmas ;) Available in Health Matters and The Hopsack for about €6.50 (The Village Bakery also produce Christmas cakes and mince pies)

- Milk Free
- Gluten Free
- Wheat Free
- Soya Free
- Egg Free (produced in a bakery which uses egg)
- Vegan (produced in a bakery which uses egg)
- Vegetarian
- Potato Free
- No Refined Sugar (contains rice syrup and molasses)
- Organic
- Potentially Corn Free (contains molasses, which can sometimes contain corn)

Ingredients: Sultanas, Raisins, Brown Rice Syrup, Sunflower oil, Brazil Nuts 9%, Manioc Flour [ed. which is also know as cassava or yucca and is used in tapioca], Dates, Ginger Wine 5%, Carrot, Apricots, Brown Rice Flour, Molasses, Chestnut Flour, Concentrated Apple Juice, Low Sodium Sea Salt, Mixed Spice, Cardamom
Allergy Advice: This product contains nuts. The ingredients used in this product are suitable for vegans; however, it is produced in a bakery which uses egg and mustard seeds as ingredients, so there is a slight possibility these allergens may be present.

Christmas at Dunnes Stores Rich Fruit Christmas Pudding
Very gooey, very sweet. It’s fine in an average christmas pudding fashion but is nothing special.
- Dairy Free
- Nut Free (note: made in a factory handling nuts)
- Soya Free (note: made in a factory handling soya)
- Egg Free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian

Ingredients: Sugar, Sultanas (23%), Breadcrumbs (Wheat Flour ,Water, Yeast, Salt, Flour Treatment Agent: Ascorbic Acid), Water, Vegetable Oil, Cider (5.5%), Flour, Raisins (4.7%), Molasses, Currants (3%), Mixed Peel (2%) (Orange Peel, Lemon Peel, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Salt, Acidity Regulator: Citric Acid), Mixed Spice, Salt
Allergen Information: Contains: Wheat, Gluten. Made in a factory handling nuts & soya

I think that most Christmas Puddings are naturally Dairy Free (and a lot of the smaller ones available in the stores are egg free) so it’s probably worth your while to check out all the different brands that tempt you. Superquinn’s red packaged pudding is definitely Dairy Free as well.

Other Gluten Free Pudding options:
Marks & Spencer Gluten Free single serving puddings, pictured left (contains nuts, milk and eggs) for €2.99
Sunny Vale Gluten Free Pudding available at Health Matters. For I think about €9.50

Good Accompaniments to Christmas Pudding is obviously whipped cream or ice cream so try out some Dairy Free Soya-too Soya Whip (available at Down to Earth or Restore) or Dairy Free & Soya Free Soya-too Rice Whip which is super good, and already sweet (available at Restore). Otherwise, Dairy Free Swedish Glacé Vanilla Ice Cream makes a lovely topping (available at almost all Heath Food Stores, Nolan’s Food Fare and some Tesco branches)... Gluten Free or Sugar Free Ice Cream Lovers should definitely get some Booja Booja Ice Creams too (available at The Hopsack and -I think- Nourish and a few of the other big shops)

And Don’t forget your Non-drinkers and/or alcohol allergic friends and family:
Coles Traditional Food Alcohol Free Christmas Pudding available at the Field & Vine in Rathmines for €8.99
Rochester Dickensian Recipe Ginger Drink (with the kick of two angry mules). Currently available 3 for €13.00 in Holland & Barrett because seriously, one can only drink so much 7-up or orange juice (even the drinkers will be stealing some - it is SOOooo good!)

And finally, for some Gluten Free, Wheat Free and Dairy Free Plus Christmas Cakes try:
- The Foods of Athenry make an iced Christmas cake
- The Village Bakery
- I also heard that Genius mince pies are selling well

Happy Shopping and Baking and House Cleaning (if you're anything like my family that is! ;)

December 19, 2011

The Verdict on Free From Mince Pies

This day week we’ll be lying on our backs wishing that we hadn’t eaten so much the previous day ... but that's only because there are SO many wonderful allergy friendly foods on the market now, and thus, absolutely NO reason to go hungry at Christmas... but remember, pace yourself. Just because you’re not allergic or intolerant to it doesn’t mean that eating the whole box won’t make you feel sick!

So, on the last 5-6 days before Christmas I thought it essential to do a cross reference of some of the Free From Allergy Friendly Mince Pies on the market this year. Of course, I couldn’t try ALL of them, but I hope what I did try will help you in your shopping and your Christmas feasting.

[UPDATE NOTE: I just had the MOST wonderful Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Wheat Free & Yeast Free Mince Pies - with NO Potato either... see December 22nd 2011's Post "The Most Amazing Gluten, Wheat, Dairy & Yeast Free Mince Pies"]


Lovemore’s Free From Mince Pies

The tops are rather hard (almost crispy on the edges) but the filling is super moist and you can definitely taste the brandy. There is a bit of the famous gluten free (and soy free) dry aftertaste but I have experienced the same with other 'gluten filled' mince pies from time to time. The pastry is quite spicy (in a home baked nutmeg and clove kind of way) and although Lovemore’s Free From Mince Pies don’t rock my world they’re not a bad alternative and I wouldn’t be completely disappointed to see them on the table during the Christmas season. Available at Nourish and Health Matters: €3.99 approx for a box of 4

- Gluten Free
- Wheat Free
- Milk Free
- Soya Free
- No added Nuts (note: but made in factory that handles nuts)
- Vegetarian
Ingredients: mincemeat (49%) [vine fruits (29%), Bramley Apple puree, Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Maize Flour, Vegetable Oil], Palm oil, rice flour, maize starch, potato starch, grabulated sugar, dextrose, maize flour, liquid egg, beet fibre, raising agents: diphosphates, potassium hydrogen carbonate; stabilizer: xanthan gum; salt, preservative: potassium sorbate; emulsifiers: polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids


The Foods of Athenry

Definitely My favourite Mince Pies this year. The box is beautiful, the Pies are beautiful and they definitely have the best Gluten Free pastry of the bunch. My only compaint is that the pastry is VERY crumbly, so much so that it is quite difficult to get the pies out of their tin cups in one piece. But the taste is good so the perseverance is well awarded. The filling is heavy in peel and a bit thicker than other brands but not dry. they definitely get my thumbs up and are my standing favourite amoung the Gluten and Wheat Free and well as the Gluten and Wheat Filled. Available in Numerous Health Food Shops and Gourmet Grocers. Definitely available at The Hopsack and Fresh, The Good Food Market: €5.49 approx. for a box of 4

- Dairy Free
- Wheat Free
- Gluten Free
- Egg Free
- Soya Free (I rang and confirmed)
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Free From Hydrogenated Fats
- No Artificial Colours
- No Artificial Flavours
- No Artificial Preservatives
Ingredients: Pastry: Gluten Free Flour (Rice, Potato, Tapioca, Maize & Buckwheat), 100% Vegetable Non-Hydrogenated Margarine, Sugar, Raising Agents (Mono Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Xanthan Gum. Mincemeat Filling (50%): Sultanas, Sugar, Apple, Raisins, Fresh Grated Carrot, Dates, Apricots, Mixed Citrus Peel, Currants, Glace Cherries, Vegetable Suet, Brandy, Irish Cider, Glucose Syrup, Mixed Nuts, Walnuts, Maize, Mixed Spice, Lemon Juice, Acidity Regulator: Acetic Acid, Plain Caramel, Orange Rind Oil, Lemon Rind Oil.
Allergen Information: Contains Nuts


Sargents 6 Standard Shallow Mince Pies

Sargents mince pies are of bargain basement quality. They are very shallow and just happen to be naturally Dairy Free. They are not a dedicated ‘Food Allergy Free’ product, and although they naturally do not contain many common allergens, there are a few ‘may contain’ warnings which I have listed below. SO, that means, Sargent’s is strictly for the food intolerant gambler looking for a bargain. The filling is at a minimum and is definitely dryer than other brands whereas the pastry is softer but contains a slight dryness in taste. In general, they are exactly what you would expect from the extreme bargain price. Available at Dunnes Stores: €1.89 approx. for a pack of 6

- Dairy Free (Note: has a may contain traces of warning)
- Egg Free (Note: has a may contain traces of warning)
- Nut Free (Note: has a may contain traces of warning)
- Soya Free (Note: has a may contain traces of warning)
- No Artificial Colour
- No Artificial Flavours
Ingredients: Pastry: Wheat Flour, Vegetable Shortening [Palm and Rapeseed Oils], Vegetable Margarine [Palm and Rapeseed Oils, Water, Salt, Emulsifier (E475), Sugar, Water, Salt. Mincemeat Filling (35%): Sultanas, Acetic Bramley Apple Pulp (Bramley Apple, Acetic Acid), Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Candied Orange and Lemon Peel [Contains Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Sugar, Acidity Regulator (E330), Preservatives (E220)], Vegetable Suet (Vegetable Oil, Rice Flour), Water, Modified Maize Starch, Mixed Spice (Coriander, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Caraway, Cloves), Raisins, Colour (E150a), Orange Oil.
Contains: Wheat, Gluten, Sulphites. May contain traces of nuts, milk, eggs or soya.


Blazing Salads

The Blazing Salads mince pies are freshly baked and sold separately. They are a bit of a different beast because they are Free From Sugar, which makes it more difficult to compete. But my final verdict is that the pastry is quite hard on the base but the filling is very moist and super fruity. I actually think that they contain rhubarb which makes for a bit of a change. My friend S. was very disappointed with them whereas my friend A. quite liked them. I thought them messy to look at but OK in taste, albeit not as ‘Christmasy’ tasting as other brands. But on the whole I think they are a good alternative for people looking for a Sugar Free healthier option. Available from the Blazing Salads Deli. €1.45 each

- Dairy Free
- Egg Free
- Sugar Free
- Yeast Free
- Vegetarian
- Vegan

Full ingredients unavailable


Happy Mince Pie Eating!

December 16, 2011

A Free From Appetizer, Perfect for a Savoury Christmas Breakfast: Vegideli Beanfeast Paté

Today’s tasty treat is Vegideli’s Beanfeast Paté which hails from The Redwoods company in the UK. (The same group that makes the tasty tasty cheezly bites that I reviewed earlier this month)

At first bite all I can taste is that ever-familiar ‘meat substitute flavour’ that we all know so well but after a couple more bites I found myself enjoying it quite a lot and wanting more. I had it on warm toast which was perfect but I imagine that crackers would be nice too... or the new Ryvita Thins which taste addictively good but unfortunately neither the thins or the Beanfeast Paté is Gluten, Wheat or Sugar free.

The Paté is, however:
- Dairy Free
- Egg Free
- Corn Free
- Potato Free (note nightshade sufferers: contains onion)
- Vegan
- Vegetarian

There’s only enough in a package for 4 generous slices of commercial sized bread because it doesn’t spread as well as traditional patés. But all in all I thought that it was a good product and that I would buy it again...And actually, after all this writing I think that I will buy it again today! I would even recommend it as a definite potential for Christmas time Allergy Free/Vegetarian/Vegan snacks or breakfast options and it’s actually super healthy with 7 different types of beans, 4 types of seeds, fibre, protein and omega 3 and 6 and no cholesterol, hydrogenated fats, artificial flavours or preservatives! :)

Bean mix (black eyed beans, black turtle beans, pinto beans, haricot beans, butter beans, aduki beans, mung beans), soya protein, sunflower oil, water, seed mix (linseed, white poppy seed, blue poppy seed & hemp seed), wheat starch & protein, yeast extracts, herbs & spices, onion powder, sugar, salt, thickener: carregeenan & locust bean gum, fermented rice & malt extract

Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 1121kJ/268kcal
Protein 7.3g
Carbohydrates 21.1g
of which sugars 2.4g
Fat 17.0g
of which saturates 1.9g
Cholesterol 0.0g
Fibre 3.8g
Sodium 0.4g
Omega 3 0.9g
Omega 6 4.0g

December 14, 2011

Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Dairy Free Rich & Fruity Cider Cake Anyone?

So.. Today is the eleventh day before Christmas .... which means that if you haven’t started thinking about foods, recipes and meals for the Holidays then you better jump on the band wagon or you’ll miss it - especially if you need food allergy friendly ‘Free From’ items which have a nasty habit of disappearing off the shelves rather quickly! Note: Down to Earth only take Gluten Free cake and pudding orders, so time is definitely of the essence)

This year, I’ve noticed the Foods of Athenry EVERYWHERE.. they’re in:
- Gourmet Grocers
- Health Food Shops (I got mine in The Hopsack)
- Markets
- Luxury Corner Stores like ‘Fresh’ (definitely the one located in Grand Canal Dock)

It’s great to see the company expanding so much and its even better for the Free From community because their products are top notch. The Foods of Athenry’s ‘Rich & Fruity Cider Cake’ is the perfect christmas treat and stands in (for me) as a marizpan and icing free christmas cake. It’s moist, fruity and makes me want more! It comes in a 450g shrink wrapped round size that looks like a giant muffin.
The essential part, as is the case with all Gluten Free products, is to eat it while it’s fresh. I opened mine, and had a finger or two while I was cutting it and thought that it was amazing! It tasted exactly like the ‘real’ wheaty, gluteny, milky thing... even F. agreed that there was no difference ... but then two hours later, after it had been lying out sliced up and exposed to the air it began to get dry and as F. said: transformed into a ‘gluten free’ product. It’s almost like a Cinderella cake that MUST be eaten before it gets turned back into a pumpkin. Although, I will say that even when it was a bit drier and tasted gluten free it was still nice, it’s just that the magic was gone.....
So, do buy it but save it until exactly the time you want to eat it and if you can’t eat all 450g maybe try immediately wrapping the remainder tightly in cling film until you need a pinch of magic again!

- Milk Free
- Gluten Free
- Wheat Free
- Soya Free (I rang and confirmed!)
- Yeast Free (but contains sugar & dried fruits)
- Vegetarian
- No Hydrogenated Fats
- No Artificial Colours, Flavour or Preservatives

The cake is about €8.99 or there about which seems a bit steep for the size of it but it’s actually quite tasty and larger than it looks.
Ingredients: Fruit 42% (Raisins, Sultanas, cherries, Mixed Peel, Dates), Gluten Free Flour (Rice, Potato, Tapioca, Maize & Buckwheat), 100% Vegetable Margarine, Brown Sugar, Eggs, Irish Cider 5%, Mixed Nuts 4%, Cinnamon, Mixed Spice, Orange Rind Oil, Lemon Rind Oil, Concentrated Fruit Juice, Rice Starch, Raising Agents (ono-Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Xanthan Gum
Contains: Nuts, Peanuts, Eggs

Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 1418.8kJ/337.9kcal
Protein 6.3g
Carbohydrates 47.0g
of which sugars 36.8g
Fat 13.8g
of which saturates 0.8g
of which trans fats 0.01g
Sodium 0.151g
equivalent as salt 0.377g
Vitamin B7 7.61ug
Vitamin D 1.10ug
Copper 0.28mg
Potassium 356.72mg

December 12, 2011

A Delicious (Naturally Dairy Free) Elisen-Lebkuchen - The Perfect Christmas Treat!

It has begun! Our Christmas tree went up on Saturday night (technically it was Sunday due to some misplaced screws for the tree stand!!) and now it is FULL FORCE Christmas, because its the most wonderful time of the year! ANYway, I tell you this because from now until the 23rd I hope to share with you all the food allergy friendly little Christmas bits and pieces I can find... appetizers.. sweets.. mince pies.. snacks... cakes... anything that is free from at least one allergen (Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Vegan, Corn Free, Wheat Free, Soy Free... etc, etc)

Today it’s a naturally Dairy Free treat (note: has a MAY contain milk warning) that is so wonderful that I want one for each of the 12 days of Christmas plus a whole stocking full on the day! Baking Emporium’s Elisen-Lebkuchen, which I found in Rathmine’s The Hopsack are the special something. When it comes to Christmas the Germans have it covered and oh my, does this Elisen-Lebuchen ever prove the point (note: germans have been making Lebkuchen since the 13th century!)! It’s like a big soft gingerbread filled with finely chopped nuts but without the actual ‘ginger’. It has a light sweetness (despite the amount of sugar in the ingredients) which is a great change from the saturated overload of most christmas sweets and is a truly welcome subtle sweet after all of the free from mince pies that I have been taste testing for my soon to come mince pie spectacular.

Extra note: although there in marzipan in the ingredients I dont think that marzipan haters would object... but then, i’m not sure how their tastebuds work cause I’m a lover!

Ingredients: hazelnuts (22%), marzipan (sugar, almonds, invert sugar, water, humectant [E420, E1102], glucose syrup), sugar, candied orange peel (orange peel, glucose-fructose syrup, sugar, acidifier [E330]), almonds (9%), candied lemon peel (lemon peel, glucose-fructose syrup), sugar, acidifier [E330]), apricot jam (dried apricots, glucose syrup), glucose syrup, mix of egg-white, honey, Ledkuchen spices, baking agent, cocoa, couverture, wafers
Allergy Warning:
Contains eggs, gluten, hazelnuts, almonds, soy
May contain traces of sesame, milk and products thereof)

December 9, 2011

Gossip & Gatherings: Loads of ‘Free From’ News That'll Definitely Interest You!

The New Kid on the Block: BFree
A new Wheat Free and Gluten Free bread, BFree, launched December 5th in Dunnes Stores nationwide (on the mainstream bread aisles) shortly following a POP UP shop in Dublin’s City Centre (23-24 Duke St) which will remain open during the weeks leading up to Christmas for promotion.
BFree is an Irish company and is the brain child of Cuisine de France’s founder, Ronan McNamee, who has been developing the recipe for almost 3 years until it tasted just like wheat based products. Ronan also solicited the help of Prof. Dr. Elke K. Arendt to optimise the nutritional composition.

I haven’t tried it yet but if you want to hear all about it from the horses mouth this is what their publicists are saying:
- A range of wheat free and gluten free bakery products that are outstanding in terms of taste, freshness and nutritional values
- Independent research carried out Summer 2011, assessed BFree and its closest competitor products, and marked BFree the winner in terms of taste and nutritional values.
- At only 71 calories per slice, High in Fibre and Low in Fat, BFree bread is one of the healthiest in the bread market world wide including wheat-based breads.

But I'll review it shortly and get all the ingredients and free from attributes out to you as soon as possible!

Dairy Free, Egg Free, Animal Free: Petite Treats Charity Coffee Morning

Yesterday my friend M. and I went to the Petite Treats Coffee Morning in The Two Sisters pub in Terenure. It was super hard to find as I cycled around and around in the ridiculous wind trying to find the pub, simply because the location is incorrectly marked on Google Maps BUT, once I found it I was in Dairy Free, Egg Free, Animal Free heaven (with a side of Soya Free & Gluten Free bliss)! Cupcakes and Brownies and Cookies and fabulous slab things with chocolate and biscuit which were AMAZING... However, the cupcakes still Rule All. There was also rice milk for the teas and coffees and even the Gluten Free cupcakes were top notch... like the real thing one might say. There were also really swish raffle prizes such as 2 Clarins gift baskets and a handmade necklace! The awesome bit is that they raised an excess of €1017 for their chosen charities and were discussing a potential monthly event....
And just to stress HOW good Petite Treats’ baked goods are... M. who is vegan, has got into the habit of ordering petite treats and sharing the surplus with her husband’s office... Her husband’s office, which are all gaming computer boys who are free from NOTHING like Petite treats SO much that they have started a weekly order, I kid you not. So don’t let ANYONE tell you that Free From Food has to be a lesser stuff.

Making Web-Life Easy: FreeFromBlogs
A new Free From Food Allergy and Restricted Diet Directory is coming to town!! I’m Ohhh so excited!
If you’ve ever trailed the web looking for a blog on your chosen topic you have probably come across various types of Directories (the I Eat Everything Foodies have a few of them) but the great news is that a few free from girls, Lucy, Amy, Amy & Gemma, got it together and have decided to launch their very own Free From Blog Directory! ...Life just got soooo much easier.
It’s still just getting started and I think that the actual launch date isn’t until the New Year but if you blog free from you should submit your stuff!... And if you just read free from well then, there’s already some reading material to get stuck into, not to mention their very own blog... So Hip Hip Hooray! I love when things get easy :)

I Used to Eat Here: Juice
Juice is gone! I was walking down Georges’s Street when my friend S. asked me if I had seen Juice lately...I looked up and my jaw dropped! Juice is no longer... and it’s replacement isn’t even vegetarian! ... However... S. tells me that the buzz on the boards is that there is a 100% VEGAN restaurant opening somewhere in Dublin’s City Centre in the new year!!! (early 2012) ... now, these are rumours and gossip is never a good thing but if we all put our positive thoughts together maybe it will really happen!!!

And that’s it... That’s all I’ve got!
So get out there and finish your christmas shopping


December 7, 2011

An Easy Dairy Free Appetizer - Great for Seasonal Celebrations!

A reader told me about these little cheesy bites not so long ago and since then I have been on a mission to find them. She gets them in Nourish in Santry but happily, I found mine in Nourish on Liffey St (€3.90 for a pack of 8) so the big trek was avoided! They are a Vegideli product, which is a sister product to Cheezly Dairy Free Cheese.

They are an imitation of deep fried cheese, or something similar and are based with Cheezly cheddar 'cheese' made with Soya. The ‘Cheezly’ taste is still there when eaten cold/room temperature, but the consistency is softer, there is a real peppery hit and they taste significantly better than the original ‘cheezly’ block due to the light breading.

They can be eaten as is, or they can be heated through. The package recommends frying or grilling. I have tried them cold, at room temperature and fried. Room temperature tastes nice but the best, in my opinion, is to fry them with minimal oil and then eat them when they are slightly cooled and can hold their shape. This is when they taste best and are most like the cheesy bites they aspire to.
The bad news is that they contain Wheat, Soya and Potato which limits the food allergy free attributes but if you’re stuck for a quick nibble during the upcoming festive season or are continually searching for a way to include your Dairy Free or Vegan guest in the snacks then I think Vegideli’s Breaded Pepperjack Style Cheezly Bites will pass the test.

- Dairy free
- Egg free
- Vegetarian
- Vegan
- No Added Garlic Free
- No Added Onion Free
- No Added Tomato (note: does contain potato)
- No Hydrogenated Fats
- No Artificial Colours or Preservatives
- GMO free

Ingredients: Water, non-hydrogenated vegetable fats & oils, breadcrumbs, tofu, wheat flour, soya protein, potato starch, thickeners: carrageenan phosphate, unrefined sugar, dried red & green peppers, sodium citrate, naural flavouring, lactic acid

Nutritional Information per 100 g:
Energy 334kcal/1400Kj
Protein 5.7g
Carbohydrates 20.9
of which sugars 0.9g
Fat 25.5g
of which saturates 10.4g
of which mono-unsaturates 10.8g
of which polyunsaturates 4.1g
Cholestrol 0.0g
Fibre 1.3g
Sodium 0.9g

December 5, 2011

November in Review: Travelling, Shopping, Eating & Finding the Best Free From Products

Well, November’s Food Allergy month in review is a little slimmer than usual what with my holidays and my snail-paced ability to get back into the swing of things but I think that worthy happenings still occurred... We looked at some Free From soups, how to drink your Sake Gluten Free and Dairy Free and the never-ending quest for a decent Dairy Free (& sometimes Soya Free) cheese (would someone PLEASE invent a quality meltable cheese!!!). We’ve also been watching The Food Hospital and making the most delicious Food Allergy Free banana sandwiches ... so simple ... so good...
And now its December. I’m going to try to ingest as many Free From christmas pies and cakes as I can afford (€ & lbs!) and share my findings throughout the month and I can’t wait to tell you all about THE most food allergy friendly menu I have EVER read - right here in littl’ ol’ Dublin... so stay tuned as they say :)

Nov 7: Gourmet Grocer: The Field & Vine has it Covered

Nov 14: Soups: Dairy Free, Gluten Free & More
Nov 17: Soya Free & Dairy Free Cheese - The Quest Through Grilling

Nov 2: Holiday Season! India Here I Come ... at last
Nov 10: Is Sake Gluten Free, Dairy Free & Soy Free? Not Necessarily
Nov 22: I’m Back from my Dairy Free Vegetarian Trip to India
Nov 30: The Food Hospital - Channel Four, Tuesday Nights

Nov 4: Toasted Banana Sandwich: Best Allergy Free Snack, Ever!

P.s. Before I go I have to tell you that Nourish, on Wicklow street have Moo Free Advent Calendars for your little ones (or big ones) who need some extra special Allergen Free Chocolate because as you know Moo Free chocolate just happens to be:
- Dairy free
- Soya free
- Egg free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Corn free
- Organic
- Fair trade sugar & cocoa
...and if you buy it now you have multiple chocolates to catch up on, which is never a bad thing ;)

December 2, 2011

A Petite Treats Charity Coffee Morning: Dec 8!!

I received a most exciting email from the very talented Mary at ‘Petite Treats’ telling me about a fabulous Christmas Coffee Morning she is hosting along with ‘The Two Sisters Bar & Lounge’ in aid of the Dublin Simon Community and Our Lady’s Hospice (which I’m sure you’ll agree are two very worthy causes). And believe me, this is not just any coffee morning - This is THE coffee morning to attend!
Usually, having a food allergy/intolerance makes me avoid these events like the plague because I feel so uncomfortable, and everybody asks over and over again why you aren’t eating anything, and just have one and oh, are you on a diet?.. yadda, I sip my hot water or sometimes black tea. BUT, this event is WAY different... All of the ‘petite treats’ will be Vegan, which of course means:

-Dairy Free
-Egg Free
-Honey Free
-Animal Free
-Cholesterol Free

...and to top it all off, most of Petite Treats’ AMAZING treats are Soy Free (!!!) and there will even be Gluten Free treats for the coeliacs and the GF’s among us! :) :), can you honestly tell me that that is not worth coming down to Terenure for? Call in sick to work, get a train to Dublin, sell a kidney... do whatever you have to do to come come come!!!

·                When - Thursday, December 8th 10.30-12.30. 
·                Where – Two Sisters Pub 2-6 Wainsfort Drive Dublin 6W Terenure.
·                How much - Entry costs €10 and you get as much tea, coffee, cupcakes, cakes, cookies and truffles as you can handle!  There will be additional boxes available for donations also.

If you don’t know who or what Petite Treats are and you missed my past raving (which you can see here) then you have GOT to get down to The Two Sisters Bar & Lounge on December 8th because I promise, your Allergy Free world will never be the same again! ...I have honestly never tasted anything as good as Mary’s Toasted Coconut Cupcakes except maybe her Belgian Dark Chocolate cupcakes...They’re so good that I have actually questioned them being vegan! So put it in your diary now! this minute!