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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 Round Up!

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has read along with my A-Z of Gluten Free Veganism theme for my first Vegan MoFo. It’s been really fun writing it and I very almost hit my goal of posting every day!

Also, thank you to all the bloggers who have been involved in this year’s MoFo, I’ve got a huge list of pinned recipes to try out and I’m going to try and work my way through them over the next few weeks! I’ve found a lot of brilliant new blogs to add to my reader too.

Here is a summary of my A-Z of Gluten Free Veganism (Vegan MoFo Year 1!)

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Vegan MoFo #1 – The month started off with a post where I got to know british followers and bloggers! It’s been really great getting to know you all and I’ve loved reading your blogs.

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Vegan MoFo #2 – With my vegan origin story I went back to the start of my gluten free veganism journey and took you along with me.

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Vegan MoFo #3 (A – Aubergine) – I shared a smoky aubergine and courgette stew, the perfect dish for autumn!

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Vegan MoFo #4 (B – Broad Beans) – How I came to like broad beans in a creamy soup!

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Vegan MoFo #5 (C- Calcium) – A useful guide on how to keep calcium levels up on a vegan diet.

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Vegan MoFo #6 (D – DS Ciabattas) – I shared a useful gluten free and vegan bread which is easy to find in supermarkets.

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Vegan MoFo #7 (E – Eggs) – An explanation of why I’ll never eat another egg.

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Vegan MoFo #8 (F – FAQs) – Frequently asked questions and answers about gluten free veganism.

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Vegan MoFo #9 (G – Gingerbread Men) – Some gorgeous little gluten free and vegan treats!

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Vegan MoFo #10 (H – Happy) – The way veganism makes me feel!

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Vegan MoFo #11 (I – Iron) – A quick guide to keeping your iron levels up in a vegan diet.

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Vegan MoFo #12 (J – Jelly) – Vegan jelly crystals!

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Vegan MoFo #13 (K – Kitchens) – How to share a kitchen and still eat gluten free.

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Vegan MoFo #14 (L – Lunch) – Tips on how to pack a vegan and gluten free lunch to take to work.

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Vegan MoFo #15 (M – Milk) – My journey to plant based milk

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Vegan MoFo #16 (N – Nakd Bars) – A review of my favourite snacks

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Vegan MoFo #17 (Observers) – My two babies!

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Vegan MoFo #18 (P – Pastry) – A gluten free vegan pastry breakthrough!

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Vegan MoFo #19 (Q – Quinoa) – Protein packed goodness!

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Vegan MoFo #20 (R – Risotto) – A carrot and coriander risotto recipe

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Vegan MoFo #21 (S – Snacks) – Gluten free and vegan snacking!

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Vegan MoFo #22 (T – Tomatoes) – A round up of my favourite tomato recipes.

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Vegan MoFo #23 (U – Utensils) – My top 5 kitchen essentials

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Vegan MoFo #24 (V – The Vegg) – The amazing vegan egg yolk

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Vegan MoFo #25 (W – Walnuts) – One of my favourite nuts!

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Vegan MoFo #26 (X – Xanthan Gum) – The must have ingredient for gluten free baking

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Vegan MoFo #27 (Y & Z – Yummy Zero Zebra Bars) – Some gorgeous children friendly vegan chocolate

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So that’s this year’s MoFo over! Check back here over the next few weeks as I work my way through the recipes I’ve accumulated!

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Now a quick question… what do you want to see on this blog? I’m going to reorganise my themes this week so if there are specific types of things you’d like to read about please let me know!

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Vegan MoFo #24 – A-Z of Gluten Free Veganism (The Vegg)

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The last thing I gave up before I went vegan was eggs. I used to love them fried, boiled, scrambled or poached and didn’t imagine what I’d eat for breakfast without them. When I went vegan I tried scrambled tofu and my first impression was not a good one as I didn’t flavour it anywhere near as much. While I got better at making scrambled tofu (for some tips on this check out my scrambled tofu post), it never truly tasted like egg.

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Recently I’ve read a lot about the first plant based egg yolk replacement. There were rave reviews all over the internet about this amazing stuff. The price always put me off (£5.99 seemed a lot!) and I was worried that it would contain all sorts of processed ingredients. When I actually looked at the ingredients though I found that it contained nutritional yeast, sodium alginate, black salt and beta carotene. I decided to get a packet to review for Vegan MoFo!

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The Vegg looks mostly like nutritional yeast and doesn’t have a very eggy smell when you first open it. Don’t let this put you off as when I followed the instructions and blended it up with some water, the aroma of eggs was definitely coming out of my food processor! The texture after blending is exactly like egg yolk which is quite incredible.

There is a whole cookbook devoted to recipes using the Vegg. Some of the few that caught my eye were french toast, scrambled Vegg and bread/cake recipes. However after some googling I found that many of the Vegg recipes contain tofu or other forms of soya. I actively avoid soya in my diet so these were no good to me!

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Eventually I found a vegan, gluten free and soy free recipe for a Vegg based omelette which I made with mushrooms and leeks. It was delicious and remarkably eggy! The recipe can be found over on A Vegan Obsession.

I am officially a Vegg convert now! I’ve also tried it made up with warm water and drizzled over cooked mushrooms and tomatoes for breakfast and it’s a winner this way too. Next for me is a dish of warm Vegg and a plate of chips to recreate the fried egg and chips meal I loved as a child.

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Have you got any Vegg recipes to share?

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Don’t forget to enter my competition to win some Frank Chocolate Snack Bars!

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Vegan MoFo #23 – A-Z of Gluten Free Veganism (Utensils)

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Welcome to day 23 of Vegan Month of Food and my 100th blog post! Today I’m using one of the prompts given to us by the Vegan MoFo team – the top 5 utensils I couldn’t live without.

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1) Wok

I use my wok for more than just stir fries! This brilliant pan is used in my kitchen for everything from curries and stews to pasta sauces and much more.

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2) Tefal Fresh Express

Salads are so much easier to make now that I have a Tefal Fresh Express. This little machine can grate a whole carrot in seconds.

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3) Peeler

My mum always peels vegetables with her little vegetable knife but I’ve never been able to master it. With my vegetable peelers I can peel without taking half the vegetable away with it!

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4) Heart shaped oven dish

I got this little dish from B&M Bargains and it only cost me about £2.99! It’s the perfect size for an individual portion and it’s cute too!

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5) Roasting pan

My roasting pan gets a lot of use, especially in winter. There’s nothing better than a plate of roasted vegetables.

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What are your favourite utensils?

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Don’t forget to enter my Frank Chocolate Snack Bar competition!

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Vegan MoFo #19 – A-Z of Gluten Free Veganism (Quinoa)

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Welcome to day 19 of Vegan MoFo! Today we’re carrying on our A-Z of Gluten Free Veganism with Q – Quinoa.

Quinoa is used to replace grains such as rice and cous cous in various meals. It’s little known that quinoa is actually the seed of a plant and not a grain! It is also a protein powerhouse as it contains each of the nine essential amino acids, making it a “complete protein”. I use quinoa a lot, boiling it in some vegetable stock for around 15 minutes and serving it instead of rice. Here are a few recipes I’ve used it in:

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Braised purple sprouting broccoli with red quinoa

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Chickpea quinoa pilaf from Veganomicon

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Quinoa and roasted cherry tomato stuffed portobello mushroom

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Quinoa and roasted tomato salad

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What are your favourite ways to use quinoa?

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Vegan MoFo #17 – A-Z of Gluten Free Veganism (Observers)

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Welcome to day 17 of Vegan MoFo! Today I’m not feeling great so I thought I’d show you my two observers that watch when I cook! Meet Mylo and Simba…

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Vegan Mofo #15 – A-Z of Gluten Free Veganism (My Journey to Plant Based Milk)

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**Apologies for the late post! I had this blog post typed up and ready to post last night until my internet went!**

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Welcome to day 15 of Vegan MoFo! Today we’re up to M in our alphabet of gluten free veganism and I’m going to talk to you about milk. My journey to plant based milk was a long one but I’m hoping to pass on some advice!

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Milk is one of the hardest things for a transitioning vegetarian to give up. The horror stories of curdled soya milk in coffee and watery rice milk are often enough to stop somebody becoming fully vegan! I first gave up milk because I was lactose intolerant and for a while I tried to live without milk at all. Soya milk tasted funny to me; the sweetened was too sweet and the unsweetened too bitter. The mistake I made was a common one: I expected vegan milk to taste just like my beloved semi skimmed.

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I tried rice milk when I was 18 and for a while it was the only milk I had. It was fine for my stomach and had an inoffensive taste but I couldn’t quite get past the consistency. This type of milk I find very watery and I would only eat it in hot cereals which absorbed it well. I used to have it in hot Weetabix (before I knew I couldn’t tolerate wheat) with piles of sugar on the top. This was fine until I went away on a college trip which involved staying over in a lodging house in the middle of nowhere. I took small cartons of rice milk with me and tried to have it on my Weetabix for my breakfast but there was no way to heat the cereal up. The memory of mushy, cold, watery Weetabix was enough to put me off rice milk for good.  I recently tried vanilla rice milk in a chia pudding as it was on offer in my local supermarket. As the chia seeds absorbed most of the liquid it was quite nice but I probably wouldn’t buy it again. This morning I gave the original rice milk another try in my tea as there was no other milk available. Let’s just say I poured the cup of tea down the drain! I know many vegans swear by it though so it’s definitely worth a try if you’re exploring the options!

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Whole Soya Beans

After a while away from milk I began using soya milk in hot drinks and hot cereals such as porridge. This often masked the taste of the milk and I found I got on quite well with it. I would only use sweetened soya milk though and I needed strong flavours to mask it! Once I’d gotten used to the taste of soya milk I began using the unsweetened variety in the place of dairy milk. I used it on cereals (hot and cold), in drinks and in cooking. Eventually I realised that I had a slight intolerance to soya which meant I had to start again in my search for the perfect plant based milk! If you are not intolerant I’d urge you to give soya a try. It’s widely available now and you can even find it in coffee shops and cafes.

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Almonds

Almond milk is my new favourite. I first heard about this new kind of plant based milk last year when Alpro added it to their range. The first time I tried it though was from a different brand called Provamel. I was very unimpressed and that put me off nut milks in general. Eventually though, I got around to trying the Alpro milk and immediately loved it. The consistency is really creamy and the flavour is slightly sweet. It’s the only plant based milk I’d ever been able to drink on it’s own! I now use almond milk in my cereal, hot drinks, cooking and by itself as a drink. Alpro have since brought out an unsweetened variety which is much better for using in cooking as it can create a creamy sauce without leaving a slightly sweet taste.

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Hazelnuts

Hazelnut milk is another type of plant based milk that I usually have in my kitchen. I discovered this around the same time as the almond milk and again, it’s the Alpro version that I like. This is not really any use as a milk substitute as it has a strong hazelnut flavour and reminds me of hazelnut milkshake. I love it on it’s own or in hot chocolate though.

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Canned coconut milk is a well known ingredient and I use it often in my cooking. Did you know though that you can buy coconut milk in a carton? The brand that makes it in the UK is called Koko and if you read their advertisements they claim that it’s the only plant based milk that tastes like semi skimmed. I don’t know if this is true or not as it’s been so long since I’ve tried dairy milk. It’s definitely a good option though if you want a plant based milk that doesn’t have a strong flavour! I use this in the same way as I use almond milk – in cereal, drinks and cooking.

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The world of plant based milks is much larger than I originally thought! I love my almond, hazelnut and coconut milks now and since I buy them from the UHT section, I can stock up when they’re on offer.

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What is your favourite plant based milk?

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How to Eat Vegan and Gluten Free at the Isle of Wight Festival – Part 1!

Eating vegan and gluten free is a daunting task even when you’re in your own home. Once you get to a music festival it can be a bit of a nightmare unless you know where to look! Last week I was at the Isle of Wight Festival which is notorious for it’s greasy burger joints and bad food. However, with a bit of searching I found a few hidden gems which meant I could enjoy the festival (and the food) as much as everyone else! This is the first of two blog posts which will tell you about my experience and hopefully give you some tips for if you’re braving the festivals this season.

As I work in the Oxfam shop at the Isle of Wight, I was there long before any of the food stalls were open. On the first night a takeaway was ordered in from the local Pizza Express. I’ve had vegan pizzas from Pizza Express many times and they’ve always been excellent. When I went gluten free I contacted Pizza Express and asked if they had anything on their menu that I could eat. At the time they had a gluten free menu but nothing on it was vegan. Imagine how pleased I was to find that the gluten free menu has been redesigned and that they can make most items on it vegan! Although this information may not help you when you’re at a festival, it’s certainly handy to know!

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One of the first stands I noticed that was gluten free was this risotto stand. Mushroom risotto is my ultimate comfort food so I was excited to find out that it was vegan! The risotto had a variety of different types of mushrooms in it and the portion size was huge for £6.  The black pepper grinder on the side was a brilliant touch and I thoroughly enjoyed this meal while sat on the grass waiting for The Levellers.

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On the way from the campsite to the main arena was an excellent and unique vegetarian cafe. Tansy’s Pantry is a bus that has been converted into a mobile vegetarian cafe selling breakfasts, falafal, hummus and dahl. The best part is that you can eat on the top deck of the bus!

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I had two meals from this bus. The first one was a simple hummus salad which they kindly made for me without the pitta bread. This cost £6 and it was really nice. The hummus definitely tasted homemade and it was such a luxury to eat some fresh, crispy vegetables! The second meal I had was a lentil and chickpea dahl. This was £7 and usually comes with a flatbread that they kindly replaced with some salad. Hearty and warming!

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That’s it for part 1 of my food experience! Check back soon for part 2 which includes curry, pakoras, free tea and some festival staples.

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