Green Banana Flour

Am I going bananas? It this a thing? Well ( some would argue yes to both if they know me) green banana flour is the latest grain free flour to hit the ever growing “free from” market.  I can hear health fashionistas jumping for joy from here.  However my burning question was what is it exactly, and do I need to try it/ incorporate it into our allergen riddled lifestyle? 

I’m interested both personally, and professionally, I’m often asked about diet and lifestyle and giving advice to patients, so I was keen to find out. That and by nature I’m quite inquisitive so one no show the other afternoon had me looking at the research. 

In the green phase banana has a high starch/ resistant starch content. This type of carbohydrate isn’t as quickly absorbed by the body- keeping us feeling fuller for longer, and helping to regulate insulin levels ( Bras et al 2013).  Also by nature it is high in potassium and gluten, dairy and nut free. 

  
Natural Evolution kindly sent me some flour to experiment with, and I’ve had great fun with some creations. It is a difficult flour to get to grips with in baking, you need less than conventional flour and a fair amount of liquid. Bear with it though. It gives a lovely almost nutty taste and a fairly light fluffy texture.   My tip ( as advised by Natural Evolution ) was to start out trying a spoonful in your smoothie, it provides  a thicker texture and I swear I felt more satisfied after, which is a bonus in a morning if you are In a rush. 
So my next trial was a cake, and being autumn, coupled with the fact we grew a lot of apples I decided on a spiced apple cake.  This works well either on its own ( with a coffee obviously) or as a pudding with custard. The nutty taste of the flour also lends itself well to spices like cinnamon and mixed spice. 

Ingredients 

  • 140g banana flour
  • 50g brown rice flour
  • 150 g sugar of choice (caster, stevia etc) 
  • 1tsp gf baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of oil eg, coconut, vegetable or grape seed ( I used coconut) 
  • 1/2 cup of milk of choice
  • 1-2 sweet apples. 

Method 

  • Preheat your oven to 180 and line a cake tin. 
  • Melt your oil if using coconut. 
  • Mix dry ingredients together. 
  • Beat the eggs and add to the oil. 
  • Mix wet and dry together. 
  • The mixture goes like a crumbly dough- add your milk at this point and mix well. 
  • If it’s still a bit dry add some more milk a splash at a time until a smooth batter is achieved
  • Pour half into a tin and add a layer of Apple. 
  • Cover with the rest of the mixture
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  • Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes then transfer to a rack. 

  

Serve and enjoy.

  

Have you tried green banana flour yet? What are your thoughts or tips? Let me know in the comments below. 

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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. 

TasteWorks Coffee Review

I’ve always loved coffee, not the instant stuff ( unless I’m desperate), but proper ground coffee. I love the smell as you grind it, and the aroma it gives off when it’s brewing, and let’s not forget the caffeine hit.  I have to confess since becoming a mum to a toddler with energy that rivals a collie the caffeine really helps. 

  Taste works are a new company, and coffee is their product. Their aim is to bring you the best of small, artisan coffee roasters.  These coffees are so far from the instant versions, a must try for all coffee fans.  To Coincide with the launch they kindly sent a sample to try.  I had “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Brews” a Rwandan coffee from Neighbourhood Coffee Roasters in Liverpool. 

  .   

  On opening the packet you are hit with chocolate hues, which almost made me think it was a mocca, followed by a strong coffee aroma- great and after following their brewing guide Here I was pouring. 

  
This coffee is very mellow, and certainly not too strong or bitter. Perfect for that first coffee of the day.  Once poured it loses some of the chocolate scent, but you can taste it ( although if chocolate isn’t your thing it’s by no means over powering.) so my verdict- I really enjoyed this coffee and can’t wait to try some of the other coffees that TasteWorks have on offer.  

Review -Mrs Crimbles Gluten Free Madeleine

   
 
  Pre coeliac diagnosis, and having spent a fair amount of time in France I was quite fond of a Madeleine. Post diagnosis and many many attempts at creating a gluten free version I just could not succeed in perfecting the gluten free version of this French classic.  I just resided with the fact that this would be on my lust after, but never having list. ( along with the McQueen peeptoe heart shoes, and Johnny Depp). 

 Anyway I digress, my ears pricked up when I heard about Mrs Crimbles bringing out a new gluten free version of the classic Cake. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found said cakes in my local garden centre of all places. Fosse way Garden centre in case you were wondering. 

They only had the classic version, but you can also get a chocolate version as well direct from Mrs Crimbles. Now they do carry a ‘ may contain’ nut warning which I’m assuming is an actual risk as Mrs Crimbles makes a bakewell type slice with almonds, so I tried these during a post soft play nap (mini me, not myself) 

  
I was impressed, they are all individually wrapped which is handy if you are out and about, and being a normal Madeleine they are the usual size as well- perfect with a cup of coffee. You get a good waft of vanilla when you open the packet, and once you cut into the cake the texture is closed pack like I remember they used to be. 

These taste lovely, you get a fairly strong vanilla taste- I like that, and no artificial aftertaste. In fact they are quite moreish, so stopping yourself from reaching for another is challenging. Another point is that they are aren’t dry when you bite into them, as some gluten free cakes can be.  All in all I am impressed with them, and I look forward to trying the chocolate ones at a later date.  Well done Mrs Crimbles. 

Have you tried these yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Review Marks and Spencer Dairy Free yogurts 

  
  As you may, or may not, of heard M&S are bringing out a whole new range of fresh free from products.  These are starting to filter into my local store (Stratford Maybird if you were wondering) . I saw these and at £1 for the two thought I’d try them. 

 Nth only thing I’d say is although the packaging is fresh, colourful and eye catching the information on it is slightly misleading. The “Eat Well” logo is proudly on display and only 80 kcal etc etc. This is all well and good, but if you read the nutritional information on the back each pot actually contains 11g of sugar so not quite as healthy as you are lead to believe. 

Enough of me being picky though, I know the crux of this post is how does it taste?  Out of the mouths of babes, my little one took one mouthful and loudly stated “mummy it’s nasty” so not a hit with her. My thoughts are its slightly insipid. It looks and smells rather inviting, and the fruit layer was quite pleasing to the taste buds ( all that sugar I guess) the soya does leave a funny aftertaste in your mouth which I didn’t like, but if you like soya then give it a try. 

  
  I prefer the coconut based dairy free yoghurts such as Koko or Coyo, but these are reasonable and offers another dairy free choice- although not for my household I’m afraid. 

Have you tried these yet? Let me know what you think. 

New Product Review -Naturelly Jelly Drink

  

  Parents behold, there is a new product in town , and it doesn’t disappoint. This is Naturelly jelly juice. The lovely people at Naturelly were kind enough to send me ( well mini me) some samples, so what follows is our thoughts. 

Naturelly is a jelly juice/ snack made from natural fruit juice And jelly made from a  dietary fibre called Gellan gum. This means its gelatine free and been approved by the vegetarian society and coeliac uk.   As a mum to a toddler with allergies I can see these being great for picnics, lunch boxes and days out as they are easily portable, great out the fridge and have a screw top to save for later. 

They are gluten free, dairy free, nut free and only 7.2g of sugar per pouch. For us ( and I’m sure many others) I see this a huge positives. For the record I also think the packaging is fun, colourful and appealing to all, but enough of my ramblings I hear you say- what about the taste? 

Well for that I pass you over to mini me. ( stand by your beds what follows is inspired). 

  
Following a horrid week of nut reactions and a bad virus mini me was having diva strops to make even Naomi proud. The sight of this new product stopped her mid squark. She eagerly waited for the cap to be removed and took a sip- then like lightening shot off with it in her hands. The verdict – “mummy it’s yummy” ( I told you inspired).  Even more impressive was she went back for seconds later and we had no mouthy ham inspired “yuck” at all. 

My verdict is its a winner. All 3 flavours have been a hit they are 

  • Apple and Blackcurrant 
  • Totally Tropical
  • Summer Fruits.

I confess I tried some to, the texture is half juice, half jelly and the flavours are true to what they are representing. I also liked the fact you don’t get that horrid artificial sweetner aftertaste that feels like it’s coating your teeth. All in all a great new product that I’m sure will become a lunch box regular. 

If you want to buy Naturelly you can do so by clicking Here 

Disclaimer: This product was sent free of charge. All views and opinions are my own, honest thoughts. 

Review- KoKo Dairy Free yogurts 

  
These are the new kids on the dairy free block, and I think I can hear the whoops of joy from here. £1.34 from the new, and very much improved, Free From section in Morrisons gets you this two pack. 

  They are a coconut milk based yogurt with added calcium and vitamins ( a bonus to help up your total calcium intake if dairy free). The flavours available are :

  • Peach and Passionfruit 
  • Strawberry 
  • Raspberry 
  • Coconut and lemon

Something for all tastebuds I think you will agree. Not only this they are also gluten free, nut free ( I jump for joy here) and suitable for those on vegetarian and vegan diets. 

  

So how does it taste? On opening the pot you can see generous amounts of fruit inthe yogurt. This is something I like. The yogurt itself is creamy and silky to taste. It’s different to a dairy based yogurt- that is to be expected obviously but it’s also not as harsh/ bitter to the taste as natural coconut yogurt- I can see this being great for parents. My little one loved this flavour and the strawberry. It’s great she eats and doesn’t moan (mum 1- Toddler 0). 

For me I found it sweeter than my usual taste, although I’ve been cutting down on refined sugar so in all honesty I find a lot of things sweet at the moment. 

  
So will we be buying them again? Too right we will, and well done Koko on the great product. You can find more info on them Here

Have you tried these or any of the other flavours? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 
Disclaimer- I purchased this product myself, and all views are my own (and truthful). 

Tesco Free From Dough Mix Review/ Recipe 

   I spotted this packet in the free from aisle of my local Tesco along with a new pancake mix as well. The packaging caught my eye – well the dough balls on it if I’m honest. It’s been years since I’ve had anything like the ones I can vaguely remember from the likes of Pizza Express and at £1.20 I thought it was good value so why not? 
 I should add the mix can be used to make either pizza bases or dough balls. The method of making either is the same. It’s so easy as well, even the most kitchen shy could make these. 

Method

  • Tip the contents of the packet into your mixer (or bowl) 
  • I added a crushed garlic clove and finely grated cheese 
  • Add 100mls of warm water and 1tbs of olive oil
  • Mix until a dough is formed. For the pizza , once shaped the dough needs to prose for 30 minutes. 
  • Shape into a base or dough balls, the packet said 8 although I made 6. 
  • Cook in a preheated oven at 200C / 180 C fan for 30 minutes of until golden brown. I admit in this try they are very golden, next time I will check after 25 minutes 

  

So how are they? They were lively and crispy on the outside with a warm, soft bread in the centre, and in my opinion much better than the pre made frozen ones that Tesco sell. On my next attempt I am going to try putting mozzarella in the centre for a cheesy dough ball, and I’m yet to try as a pizza base, but for the price and texture/ taste I will be buying this again. Oh and I nearly forgot its both gluten and dairy free to. 

Have you tried this or the pancake mix yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments box. 

Review, Carl The Caterpillar Cake from Tesco 

Yes it’s called Carl, yes I’m 32, no I don’t care. It was my birthday yesterday and having seen this cake being advertised, and being gluten free my inner child said I needed one.  Off I went on a mission to find said insect friend. Guess what I found one to. 

  
Carl is £6, serves 12 and is a chocolate cake, covered in fondant With chocolate buttercream sandwiching it all together. As a tip I found it in the Free From section of Tesco and not with the other cakes in the bakery department. 

The packaging is bright and eye catching, perfect for all age groups ( the new Easter packaging on hot cross buns is great as well), it even comes on a cake board so can be served straight away. All good bonus points. But really we are all waiting for the taste test. 

  
There is a lot of fondant on this cake, which I confess I found very sweet, so ended up picking it off. The cake itself is moist with a fairly generous amount of butter cream and a good chocolate flavour of the actual sponge cake. On the whole I liked it, although It was probably a bit too sweet for me. I do admit I had a minor wobble on eating it when I saw the sugar content, but for a birthday treat and bike ride later I can take it. 

  
I can see this will be a winner for children, and it means that no one will be left out and also a godsend for those of us who can’t/ don’t like icing cakes. It’s worth mentioning though that it is unsuitable for nut allergy sufferers – don’t worry I didn’t eat in and glout in front of mini me. I bought a just free tray bake the is 100% nut free. 

So there we have it, not a bad product and good value for money. Have you found and tried this cake yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Review – M&S Gluten Free Sausage Rolls. 

I was pottering through my local M&S food hall the other day and spotted these in the deli aisle. I think it’s brilliant that these companies are expanding their “free from” ranges and these can be found along side the gluten free scotch eggs ( yummy), pork pies (ok) and quiches. 

  
Now considering the fat content I wouldn’t be eating these every week, and operation wedding dress wouldn’t allow for it either, but a little treat once in a while is good for the soul ( I think anyway) 

 So what are they like? Well  you get the two for £3, I personally think £1.50 is good value per sausage roll, but really it all comes down to the taste test. The packet says they can be eaten hot or cold, so naturally I tried both ways. If eaten cold I really didn’t like them, it was rather underwhelming. The pastry has no puff and crumbled and the sausage, whilst being well seasoned and tasty had a stoggy texture that was hard to swallow and the remainder ended up in the dog ( she didn’t complain). 

However all hope is not lost,  into the oven went the second attempt. This is where these come into their own. It came out all sizzling and golden, which looks more inviting in the first instance.  The pasty had expanded slightly and had a crunch when cut and you can see the layers, which is difficult with a gluten free puff pastry. The taste comes alive, the texture of the sausage improves, you experience a traditional sausage flavour of pork and herbs but no heavy texture as you eat it. In short these were made to be eaten warm.  

Would I buy them again? Well yes but I’d only be eating them warm. If you fancy a quick on the go lunch from M&S I’d recommend the new sandwich range, especially the BLT or the scotch eggs and cocktail sausages.  Have you tried these yet? Let me know what you think in the comments below.