Reviews

Ten Acre Crisps – Gluten Free and Vegan! (Part 1)

I try to stick to a whole food diet most of the time but anyone who knows me will know my one weakness is crisps. I’m a connoisseur of the ready salted variety which is usually the only option to a gluten free vegan in this country. I do often think back to the days when I had a wide choice of flavours, my favourites being cheese and onion, smoky bacon and prawn cocktail. Licking the flavoured orange powder off my fingers afterwards was especially delightful. I was therefore very excited when I came across a brand of crisps called Ten Acre.

Although not widely available, this relatively new brand is available in selected shops. All of the eight flavours are suitable for vegans (even the cheese and onion!) and are also gluten and MSG free. They each have a quirky tale attached to them which you can read on the brilliant Ten Acre website. I’ve never seen such an interactive and intriguing website to advertise food before! A few months ago I was lucky enough to be sent some of these crisps to review and eagerly ripped open the package when they arrived! Here I will talk about four of the flavours I tried but please check back next week for the other four!

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The first flavour I tried was “The Secret of Mr Salt” which would have been the one I’d have picked up first in the shop as it’s my old standby flavour! The texture of the crisps is what struck me most here. At first I thought they were rather on the thin side but once I started eating them I realised how perfect the thickness was. They were extremely crunchy and morish and had just enough salt on them. These would be a firm favourite if they were available close to me! I soon moved onto the more adventurous flavours though…

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“How Chicken Soup Saved The Day” were amongst my favourites of the bunch. I loved Roast Chicken flavour crisps as a child so these were very exciting. Obviously these crisps are vegan and so contain no real chicken flavour. This makes them the perfect replacement for the vegetarians/vegans who are now being deprived of Walkers Roast Chicken flavour due to the real meat juices contained in them! The flavourings in these crisps focus mostly on the herbs parsley and sage. The flavour is deliciously savoury and remarkably chicken like! To see the rest of the ingredients and read the story behind the Chicken Soup click here.

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One of my favourite flavours of crisps used to be sweet chilli (I’m mainly thinking of Walkers Sensations!) so I thought I knew what to expect here. However while Sensations were very spicy to my palate, “When The Chilli Got Sweet” was a slightly sweeter flavour. This meant that the flavour could come through better and you could eat them forever without your mouth burning!

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When Hickory Got BBQ’d” was another of my favourites. These gorgeous crisps are flavoured with paprika, cayenne and smoke flavourings and capture the perfect BBQ flavour! Another example of how a traditionally meaty crisp can be vegan!

Please check back next week when I’ll be reviewing the other four flavours – cheese and onion, salt and vinegar, sweet & sour and bombay.

Have you tried Ten Acre Crisps yet? If not which flavour are you most interested in?

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Vegan Mofo #27 – A-Z of Gluten Free Veganism (Yummy Zero Zebra Bars)

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OK guys, I’m aware that I am cheating twice here!

1) The last day of Vegan MoFo was yesterday

2) I’m doing Y and Z together

I’m sorry for missing the last day of MoFo! Hopefully this chocolate review will make up for it!

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Zero Zebra are a small brand that make dairy and allergen free chocolate aimed at children. Their products are all free of allergens, fair trade, vegan and organic and so are perfect for vegan or lactose intolerant kids. I bought one of each of their three chocolate bars to give a try.

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Their original bar is a gorgeous rice based milk chocolate. Many vegan milk chocolates can be too bitter or grainy but this is soft, creamy and delicious.

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I expected the Crispy Rice Pop bar to be reminiscent of the Nestle Crunch Bars that I used to adore before I was vegan (and before I gave up eating Nestle!). It is not like these bars at all but don’t let that put you off! The rice pops are scattered through this bar but there aren’t so many that the quality of the chocolate is hidden. It’s a creamy bar with small crunchy bits.

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This is the bar I was most excited to try. My favourite flavour in everything used to be strawberry so a vegan milk chocolate with strawberry is right up my street. This bar wasn’t what I was expecting at all but it was delicious nonetheless. It actually contains dried bits of strawberry so the fake sugary strawberry flavour I was expecting was replaced by a more realistic sweet strawberry flavour. This is sure to be a favourite amongst kids!

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Overall I think these bars are fantastic. They are a lot bigger than most vegan milk chocolate treats at 35g and I didn’t feel like eating another bar once I’d finished! I think the cute packaging and the shape of the bars will stop children from becoming jealous of the kids with the milky bars and parents can be sure that they are allergen free!

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What are your favourite vegan chocolates?

Categories: Reviews, Vegan Mofo | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Veganomicon Review Update 2 (Monthly Cookbook Challenge)

March is the first month of my cookbook challenge! Every month I will be selecting two cookbooks and my challenge is to make as many recipes as possible from those books and then to review them at the end of the month.

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This month I’m reviewing Weight Watchers Meat Free Meals and Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

This is my second update in the series and contains recipes from Veganomicon.

Mediterranean Olive Oil and Lemon Vinaigrette

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This was a quick and simple salad dressing made from oil, lemon juice, garlic and dried herbs. I never think to make my own salad dressings and usually just go for mayonnaise or hummus but this made a lovely change! As far as recipes go this is one that couldn’t really go wrong but I was still impressed. I had it with a rice, tomato, pepper and corn salad.


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Chickpea Quinoa Pilaf

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This was in the grains section of Veganomicon and is suggested as a side. I can’t imagine such a protein packed food as a side dish though so I had it over salad. It was an extremely easy recipe to follow and was all store cupboard ingredients. I found it a bit plain though even with the spices and preferred it much more with a big dollop of hummus on top. I don’t think I’ll make this again but it was a nice change.

Broccoli Polenta

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This is one of my favourites so far! I’ve had a bag of polenta in the cupboard for a while now and not done much with it. With the huge amount of broccoli delivered in our veg box I was ready to try and do something with my polenta! This recipe gives three different molding methods and two cooking methods so there is a method for everyone. I chose to use a square pan to mold the polenta and I chose panfry as the cooking method because I wanted them to be crispy.

The recipe was easy to follow although it didn’t need boiling as long as the book said as the mixture soon turned thick and would have burnt. I also didn’t put it in the fridge because it was too hot but it set fine left on the counter. The trick to frying these squares was to leave them to cook for a few minutes before disturbing them so they don’t turn into mush!

I served my squares with salad and they were filling and lovely. I’m imagining different varieties now, I think they’d be wonderful with sun dried tomatoes in!

Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions

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I have to admit it was the onions that drew me to this dish! The caramelised onions were heavenly and I can imagine adding them to all sorts of dishes.

The lentils and rice itself sounded good in the book with cinnamon, allspice and cumin but I found it a bit bland and ended up adding vegan worcester sauce, tamari and a mushroom stock cube. The amount of water needed was also a lot more than recommended in the book which may have had an effect on how bland it tasted. I might make something similar to this again but it definitely needed my additions. I even fed this to my mum yesterday and she really liked it but agreed it would have been bland.

So that’s it for my veganomicon update. Keep an eye out later in the week for an update on Weight Watchers Meat Free Meals!

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