We Love Cake- Review

Bold title I know, but really who doesn’t love cake? You know when it’s been one of those weeks? Well it has for me, preparation for mini me starting school, and getting care plans in place takes a lot of work ( and phone calls), so imagine my surprise when a parcel from We Love Cake arrived on the doorstep.  It helped break the week up, although I have been swimming a couple of extra times to counteract the cake. 

  

This fab little bundle co-insides with the new launch of the Brownies and Bakewell Tarts in to Iceland stores across the country. Something else to point out is that they are all gluten, wheat and dairy free, there is obviously almonds in the bakewell so no go for nut allergies. Don’t worry, I’m not cruel, mini me was at school introduction when the photos and tastings were going on. 

So what are my thoughts?

 

The tarts are delicious, lovely crispy pastry ( mine is mostly always a disaster), with a generous amount of jam. The apricot was my favourite- the jam has a sweet but tart flavour that bursts on your tastebuds. All the jams don’t taste artificial, and helpfully don’t set your teeth on edge from too much sugar either. So thumbs up for these. Blackcurrant and strawberry were the other 2 flavours. 

   

Now before the mutters of  “Not another Brownie” start, hear me out. I liked these. I loved the fact they are packaged in twos- great for lunch boxes or picnics.  They have large chocolate chips and a soft squidgy centre with a good chocolate hit. Considering they are dairy free as well you would never know, which I did wonder about, as I’m guilty of adding butter to my brownies. 

  Now I’ve never been a huge Bakewell fan, it’s not something we have often mostly due to containing almonds, but these are new and I like to try different things. The problem I have with bakewell is the icing- it’s often so sweet and sickly, which puts me off. These have the same crisp pastry ( hooray) and a good portion of jam ( great, as some as so stingy on the jam). I didn’t like the cherry, but I hate glacé cherries so nothing new there, but and here is the BIG BUT the icing did not offend me. It’s sweet, but not sickly and doesn’t overpower the almond taste of the pie.  Of all Bakewell tarts I’ve tasted this is the winner in my book. 

  
So there you have it, I enjoyed these cakes. Keep a look out in an Iceland near you. Round of applause fir We Love Cake. 

Have you tried these, or any more of the We Love Cake range? Let me know your favourites in the comments below. 
Disclaimer: I was sent these products to try- all opinions are my own and honest ( promise). 

  

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Review – Nush Dairy Free Yogurt 

You may, or may not have noticed a new brand of the free from market? Nush Foods are the company behind dairy free, gluten free and vegan yogurts that are made from either almond or cashew milks. I believe they are the first in the UK to offer such a product. 

Anyway I’m rambling, I saw these in Tesco (£2) and thought I’d try one. I should add that they are nut based so all testing was done well out the way of mini me.

 

  I was really impressed, I’m not sure what I was expecting really- possibly a more gloopy texture that you can get with other plant based yogurts, but this has a consistency of, well yoghurt.  Considering this was almond based, you are not over powered with the taste, there was a subtle, but pleasing blueberry flavour, not overladen with sugar or sweetness- all positives for me. I should also add that this is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. 

  
So will I buy it again? Well yes, although not every day as it is a bit pricey.  That said I’m also interested in trying the cashew milk yoghurt when I track it down. Well done Nush keep up the good work. 
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All views are my own, and honest. 

Chocolate (Green) Smoothie

Hello, hello, hello I’m back ( or BT has finally fixed our phone line). anyway now normal service can be resumed and I’ve got loads of posts to share with you all, so I best get started. 

  
This here Is a green smoothie in disguise. It’s perfect for a chocolate fix but has less sugar than some of the other smoothie combinations out there. I’m not going to say  it’s clean, or sugar free etc, sugar is sugar whichever way you look at it, and this has some fruit in. 

Ingredients 

  • Handful of spinach 
  • Small piece of cucumber
  • 1/2 frozen banana 
  • A few chunks of mango
  • 1tsp of cacao powder 
  • 1/2 tsp maca powder
  • Milk of choice 

Place all ingredients into your blender/ nutribullet etc and voila there you have your smoothie

  
Right back to it I’m experimenting with photo backdrops and have some pictures to take. ( it’s one of my aims this year to improve my photography skills). 

My November Favourites 

Happy 1st of December, excited yet? Yes I am to, also very selfishly I cannot wait to open my advent calendar ( M&S beauty one in case you were wondering). I love Christmas so I’ve decided ( foolishly probably) to do Blogmas as well. You can expect recipes, ideas, reviews and a giveaway to. 

 

I digress this is about November, or my favourite finds anyway. 

First up Aldi, or their new free from section anyway.  Christmas wise they have mince pies, Christmas puddings and cakes all gluten free. The free from range in my local store is growing, and includes Newburn BakeHouse and Nairns. The prices are amazing  £1.29 for flour ( although I’ve not tried it yet) seems a great buy. The downside is that not all stores have the range yet, as some of my followers have sadly told me. Fingers crossed it will continue to be rolled out. 

 Next up is a new company Angels and Cookies they offer allergy friendly cookie dough free from the top 14 allergens, and what’s more they are delicious so if you fancy a treat for Christmas Eve grab some and get baking. 

  
Next up is Moma Bircher muesli. I found via Ocado but they sell direct to. It’s great add your juice and yoghurt leave for minimum of 5-10 minutes and eat. No added sugar either. My only down side is it has a may  contain with nuts but in fairness I keep mine at work so not a problem. 

A few more things to add, Sainsburys have both gluten free, dairy free and nut free Christmas puddings and cake ( I’ll add a picture when I get them) and keep an eye open at M&S their party food is coming in and a lot is gluten free. My personal favourites are the mini chicken Kiev and Asian belly pork. 

That’s it from me today, I’m back to the hell of trying to find a Hatchimal and de icing the car. See you tomorrow. 

Review- Angels & Cookies Cookie Dough 

  
  The name is romantic, the logo vintage, the products are super and free from the top 14 allergens. Say hello to Angels and Cookies a new company on the free from scene.  

  Their product is raw cookie doughs in 3 flavours Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate Chip and Ginger & Spice. All come ready to bake and each pot can make roughly 6 large or 12 small cookies ( £7.99 a pot).   The lovely people from Angels and Cookies sent me some goodies to try and get creative with- so here are my thoughts. 

They are extremely easy to bake, preheat your oven to 180c. I took the dough out of the fridge 15 minutes before using it. You then divide it into however many cookies you want. Roll into a ball and then flatten.  You can also roll the dough between baking parchment to get a thinner biscuit, which is ideal for then cutting with a cookie cutter. 

 

Cook for 12-15 minutes. Leave to cool on a cooling rack before tucking in. 

  
So how do they taste? In short delicious. My particular favourite is the ginger, if you go for large and soft baked it’s wonderful with a cup of coffee. If you go for a thinner, crispy biscuit you then have a perfect ginger snap ( which dunked really well). The smell whilst cooking was amazing, just perfect for the Christmas season. 

Mini me favoured the chocolate fudge, it’s satisfying for a chocolate hit, but not overly sweet or full of sugar like shop bought ones can be. I made sandwhich cookies with a chocolate buttercream filling, and they were exceptional ( my take on an Oreo if you will). 

Lastly Choc chip, well what’s not to like? They taste better than supermarket cookies I’ve tried in the past- no artificial aftertaste in your mouth.  The chocolate is dark, the dough is plain, mixed together they are a match made in heaven.  I’ve not yet tried, but I can see this working well in a home made ice cream. It’s up there on my to try list- I cannot remember the last time I had cookie dough ice cream. 
   

 
   I throughly recommend this cookie dough, as does the biggest critic of them all – my 3 year old. I have to  say she also enjoyed the baking element of the process to, and I can feel better knowing  that most of the ingredients are ( where possible) organic and free of nasties. 

Have you tried this cookie dough yet? If so let me know about your creations in the comments below.     

Review- Tesco Free From Instant Rice Noodles

I’ve never been a pot noodle fan, but in fairness it’s been so long now I cannot remember what they taste like. ( I’m assuming I’m not missing much?)  so I was a bit skeptical when I noticed these new instant rice noodle pots in Tesco Free From range the other day, but I was in a rush and thought well why not?

  
  They seemed ok for the fat and sugar content, so not too bad for a quick lunch on the go. It’s easy to prepare-empty contents into pot, pour on water, put lid on and then leave for 4 minutes et voila. 

I was amazed, the cardboard like noodles had transformed into long ribbons of rice noodle, that in fairness looked quite appealing, in a lazy sort of way. 

My tip is give it a good stir, my first mouthful was horrid, it just tasted bland, but a good mix brings out the flavour. The curry isn’t like a cheap  curry sauce flavour either, there is spice, and heat. It’s warming and satisfying all in a mouthful. 

  
I have to say I’m impressed, and although I would not want to eat them all the time, as a quick and satisfying lunch option these pots are very good. It’s encouraging to find a savoury product in a free from range that covers other allergies to – these are also dairy free. So thumbs up Tesco, keep up the good work. 

Chocolate Courgette Cake 

Since I’ve gone all good life ( as my friends tell me) my garden is in full produce production. Courgettes are one such thing that I have a glut of. There are only so many ratatouilles that you can eat, although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like them, so on went the thinking cap and amongst other things a courgette cake was one of my ideas. 

  
Now don’t be put off by thinking ( baby George style) “yuck, veg in a cake” you cannot tell and the sponge is wonderfully moist. This is great as my version is gluten free as well, which can have a tendency to dry out, but the moisture from the courgette gives the cake a fudgy texture. It’s great warm as a pudding with some kind of creamy addition or with your afternoon cup of tea. 

I topped it off with a dark chocolate ganache which works well- be warned though your kids get plastered in it. Mind you its a win win as licking the bowl does keep them quiet for a while. I take no responsibility for the messy chops and clothes though. 

Ingredients 

  • 350g self raising flour ( I used Doves farm gluten free) 
  • 50g Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 300g caster sugar 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 175 ml melted coconut oil 
  • 2 medium courgettes grated 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 

Method 

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a 24cm cake tin. 
  • Grate your courgette and set aside.
  • In a bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, mixed spice and xanthan gum. 
  • Mix the eggs with the sugar and melted oil and vanilla extract and then fold in the courgette. 
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients and pour into your cake tin.
  • Cook for roughly 40 minutes or until your inserted skewer comes out clean. 

If you want to make a ganache place 200g of chocolate ( I used kinnerton)  in a bowl Andreas until boiling point 100 ml of double cream.  Pour this over the chocolate and stir well. Once the mixture has cooled and thickened then pour on top of your cake. 

  

Rana’s Artisan Bread 

  
Psst… See the loaf in the picture? Well I (Mrs usually bakes doorstops) baked it. I’ll get back to the beginning. I have the honour of becoming a brand representative for Ranas’ Artisan Bakery.  If you haven’t heard about them, they offer both baked goods and bread mixes to bake at home. The added bonus is that not only are these all gluten free, but free from the dairy, eggs, nuts and soya to. 

 So anyway I was sent a bread mix to play with- Bold Buckwheat. I’ve never been fantastic with bread making, and gluten free versions even less so, however I was optimistic as the packaging stated “just add water”. Easy enough I thought, although the funny porridge like texture of the dough I was left with did have me wondering, but never the less carry on I did ( the very clear instruction sheet helped a great deal) 

Next step is to leave the dough for 5 minutes, then stir for 1 minute before shaping your loaf on the grease proof paper provided ( a wet spatula helps). 

  
Once shaped, pop your loaf into the bag and seal, then leave to prove for an hour. Now I was worried, you can’t see through the bag and it didn’t seem to rise much , again back to the instructions which reassured me to not expectd too much of a rise, -panick averted. 
Then pop into the oven and bake for 90 minutes. It said best results with non fan oven. I’ve only got a fan oven so I thought I’d give it a go anyway. It was fine, but I’d be interested to hijack my mums aga and try in there to compare. 

  
You then have to left it Cool completely on a wire rack and bat off little (and big) hands until it does so but believe me it’s worth the wait. I was very impressed with the first attempt. It has a strong tang to it, which I loved ( even tiny tot went in for seconds) and toasted either for breakfast or as bruschetta is is delicious. I can even see it going well with our Christmas cheese board. 

 So my over all verdict is that I’m very impressed with this mix. My only slightly negative comment is the £3.99  Price tag, which does put them at the top end of gluten free artisan loaves but you do get what you pay for, it tastes lovely, has the best crust on any gluten free loaf I’ve tasted, and free from multiple allergens.

Keep reading as I’ve got a few recipes up my sleeves to incorporate these loaves. 

Breakfast parfait Gluten and Dairy free 

Parfait what’s not to like right? Whether it’s the frozen dessert or layered up in a pot I think it’s great. I’ve become a fan of mason jars or jam jars and they are great for providing a vessel to transport your breakfast. And what could be better than one of these pots of joy?? 

  So this weekend we went berry picking,  we have a few farms that have pick your own around where we live, I love the scrabbling around through the strawberry plants and raspberry canes searching for the little red jewels that are hidden beneath the leaves. Mini me ( being the slightly ferrel child she is) loves it to- and it’s all nut free so it makes for a great hours entertainment. I do confess I had to buy a drink ( I felt guilty as Lily-Rose actually consumed her body weight of raspberries as we went round) 

Anyway I digress a bit. I’ve all these fresh berries and it’s hot ( yippee) so parfait pots made for a great, healthy breakfast. Perfect for summer. 

   

Ingredients 

  • 1 banana mashed with 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • Yoghurt of your choice ( I used KoKo coconut dairy free ) 
  • Fruit of your choice 
  • Granola ( I used Delicious Alchemy Nutty Granola). Or my own recipe for a nut free version 

  

The method is easy, banana at the bottom, and then layer up however you fancy. Then dive in with a spoon and enjoy. 

Do you like parfait? What’s your favourite flavour combination? Let me know in the comments below. 

Fruity Berry Smoothie Bowl 

So smoothie bowls, what’s all the fuss you may ask? These lovely creations are so much more than something to make for pretty Instagram photos ( although I’m not denying they do make pretty Instagram photos). They are a great way to eat fruit/ vegetables if that’s not your thing, they are perfect for breakfast or as a satisfying sweet craving if you find yourself thinking about grabbing that Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer. 

  
They are also very easy to make ( just aim for a thicker version of your regular smoothie) and you can experiment to your hearts content on different flavour combinations and toppings. Things that work well are chia seeds, fruit, cacao nibs, desiccated coconut, coconut chips or coarsely chopped nuts. The main thing is to have fun and enjoy making and eating your healthy creations. 

I took my flavour inspiration from Wimbledon and berry season here in the UK, that and places like Aldi have cherries for 59p at the moment so it would be rude to not buy them right? 

So how to make a bowl- it’s more assembly work really, rather than cooking but here is the recipe: 

Ingredients 

  • 1 frozen banana
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/2 cup strawberries 
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 6-8 cherries chopped 
  • 200 ml milk of your choice ( add more a bit at a time for your desired texture) 

Method

Blend all the ingredients together 

Pour into a bowl and then decorate however you fancy.  In this recipe I have used chia seeds, coconut and strawberries. 

Serve and enjoy. 

  

Have you tried a smoothie bowl yet? What are your favourite flavour combinations? 

Free From
Farmhouse