Monday, 29 June 2015

Urban Fruit

The lovely people at Urban Fruit sent me a box of their delicious, nutritious and healthy dried fruit selection. I decided to share it with my brother because I am kind like that. He agreed with me that the quality of the fruit was fantastic, it retained all of its natural flavour whilst still being a bit different. They were sweet, chewy and incredibly moreish. They have a good range of flavours, from pineapple to mango to strawberry. My favourite was the pineapple and tropical, this is why:


Perfectly Pineapple
This as you can guess from the name was dried pineapple. The serving size was rather substantial and I was rather impressed, plus it left me feeling rather full and satisfied. The flavour was lovely, naturally sweet with a slight tang that you would expect of pineapple. This was of a really high quality and I really enjoyed it, I will definitely buy this again in the future! Each serving came to exactly one hundred calories which was quite impressive considering it was 35g

Tremendously Tropical
This was just lovely! Crispy but moist coconut slices, tangy pineapple, sweet mango and moreish banana! A magical combination of fruit goodness (the exact words of my mother). I really enjoyed this and found it difficult to share with both my mother and brother, we were all fighting for the prices of banana especially! This was a perfect mid afternoon treat to keep hunger at bay. 



Rating - 9/10
Vegan - Yes
Buy Again ? - Yes!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Hartley's Sugar Free Tropical Jelly

I enjoy having my pot of sugar free jelly of an evening with my night time snack and I am always open to trying new flavours-despite being a creature of habit who hates change- so I decided to pick up the newest flavour of Hartley's jelly, Tropical. I am normally a fan of tropical flavoured things because they always taste so fresh and summery but this jelly does nothing for me. It was pleasant enough but I found it quite artificial tasting and had a strange aftertaste that wasn't too great. It did taste quite tropical with pineapple being the dominant flavour, but there was just something that wasn't quite right about the whole thing and because of this I won't be buying this again.



Rating - 3/10
Calories - 2
Vegan - Yes
Buy Again? - No

Monday, 15 June 2015

Dairy Free Button Off

Dairy Free Chocolate Buttons Show Down

Asda Chocolate Orange Buttons (The Best For Variety)
Now, the packaging is nice enough and the serving size is adequate. It satisfies your chocolate craving with its strong cocoa tones. It isn't the highest quality of chocolates with a somewhat overly sweet taste. The orange comes through very nicely and you can tell it is natural flavourings rather than artificial. The melt on them isn't great, but it is good enough to still be enjoyable.

Humdinger Chocolate Buttons (The Best For Flavour)
These also have a good melt on them, the buttons vary in size and I found this to be a unique quirk that set them apart from other ones. I think these actually taste an awful lot like Walnut Whips, it is rather bizarre but I really liked this because it made them unique in flavour. These were probably my favourite in regards to flavour.

Tesco Milk Chocolate Buttons (The Best Convincing Dairy Flavour)
I was rather impressed with these, they had a good cocoa flavour and were surprisingly creamy. I still find it hard to believe that they don't actually have dairy in them, although I would like to point out that they don't taste like regular chocolate buttons but in their own rights, they are rather tasty!

Tesco White Chocolate Buttons (The Best For Melt)
The melt on these have to be the best of any dairy free buttons I have tasted, although the texture is a little odd but regardless of this they taste really nice. Okay, they don't taste much like white chocolate but they are rather nice in their own right and as long as you are willing to take into account the total lack of dairy it is quite impressive that they are so creamy!


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Sugar Free Hartley's Apple Jelly

When I first became vegetarian I avoided all jelly products, I didn't even think it worth looking at the ingredients because I simply assumed that they would contain gelatine. Obviously i knew that vegetarian gelatine existed, but I didn't think that a major company such as Hartley's would use such a product. On a whim, I decided to just double check the ingredients, and to my great surprise, they were indeed vegetarian (or at least a few flavours were, which I will also list at the end of this post).
Now, onto the review! I opted for the sugar free apple flavour which comes in at a fabulously low seven calories. Initially I was concerned that because of this lack of calories it would taste awful and nothing like apple, but I was wrong. The flavour is really sweet and tastes a lot like apple, there is a good wobble to it and tasted best when freezing cold right out of the fridge. Not that big a fan of it when warm but I don't like jelly at room temperature so this is a personal preference.



Rating - 8/10
Calories - 7
Vegan - Yes
Buy Again - Indeed

Apple & Blackcurrent Bear Paws

These have quickly become a staple part of my diet because of how delicious they are, how low in calories they are and, just how cute they are! Because come on, how can you not love these little paw shaped fruit bites!? The natural fruit flavour really shines through, it is easy to distinguish between the two flavours and they are easily identifiable rather than just merging into a single flavour, a problem that is frequent amongst most products claiming to have several flavours... Overall they made for a tasty treat containing only natural sugars. Okay I know that they are aimed at children, but you know what, they taste absolutely delicious and I am not ashamed to eat them! So stand tall and embrace you inner child with these healthy, fruity, cutie paws! 



Rating - 9/10
Vegan - Yes 
Calories - 54
Buy Again - Already bought another ten packs...

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Nine Things That Happen When You Go Vegetarian or Vegan

1) Vegetables are no longer just an accompaniment.
Once you become vegetarian (or more so for vegans), vegetables start to become a staple part of your diet and no longer are they just a boring side dish that is smothered in butter or covered in cheese. They take on a whole new life and actually constitute a whole meal on their own. Things like aubergines and portobello mushrooms are particularly good with their almost meaty consistency and once you start eating them, you won't even miss meat.

2) Eating only five portions of fruit or vegetables a day seems measly 
Before I became a vegetarian I thought having five portions of fruit or vegetables a day impossible and I would be impressed with myself if I managed to eat more than an apple, but now I easily manage 10-15 portions a day. Now this may seem excessive at first, but as a result of this, my skin is glowing, my hair looks healthier and it grows quicker! Obviously all of these vitamins are doing me some good, or perhaps this is just a placebo effect…? Either way, I am certain it is doing me some good.

3) How 90% of vegetarian products are covered in cheese.
I have never liked cheese, always hated the smell, the taste and, the texture so when I finally gave up meat I found it quite difficult to actually have much variety in my diet because if how limited I was! It is infuriating how little companies cater to both vegans or vegetarians that just don't like cheese!

4) You become an expert at label reading.
You will know instantly what to look for and avoid, even what E numbers to stay away from (E120 is the most common to avoid). You become an encyclopaedia of knowledge regarding product ingredients, what you can eat and what you can't eat.

5) You will become a chef out of necessity.
If you want to keep eating your favourite foods then you will have to learn how to veganise them or make them meat free. Things like chilli, curry, pizza, Mac & Cheese, ice cream and cookies. You will spend hours scouring the internet looking for the perfect alternatives and the best recipes. My favourite place to do this is on Pinterest because you can just file them all away for a later date!

6) The Free From section will become your favourite place in super markets.
Seriously, you will start to plan your whole shopping plans around this tiny little section because it is the only place that you will find a variety of dairy free chocolate buttons, a range of dairy free milks and some bizarre products that you have never even heard of before but desperately want to try. 

7) Holland & Barratts will become your spiritual home.
It will become like a place of sanctuary where you can surround yourself with raw food bars, nuts, seeds, nut butters, dried fruit from every fruit you have ever heard of and an abundance of chia seeds. It is well worth signing up for a membership card because this will be your go to place for all things vegan, especially with all of the vitamins and supplements they have on offer.

8) You will become like a squirrel and have a secret stash of food.
When you realise that most foods are now off limits you will start to covet and hoard anything that you are able to eat. It will be kept away from everyone else's food for fear that they may eat it by mistake. You will become very protective of your food, I recommend  getting something to store it all in, I found a bag with a cat on it to be rather effective. 

9) Everyone around you will become nutritionists.
When they find out you are vegan many people instantly become concerned with your protein intake with inane and cliché questions such as ‘Where do you get your protein from?’ What they don't realise is that there are a lot of places that we can get protein from that has nothing to do with animals! For example spirulina contains 4g of protein per tablespoon, or broccoli, per 30 calories of it equates to 4.5g of protein. This compares to beef which contains 7g of protein per 75 calories.



Friday, 5 June 2015

JJ's Sea Salt Cocomels

I am rather impressed with the concept of these caramels, I never thought that you could have vegan caramels because I thought that milk was a key aspect of it, but I have been proved wrong! These are made by an American brand called ‘JJ’s Sweets’, they specialise in vegan caramels and even offer dairy free chocolate coated caramels. Unfortunately, because they are American they are quite difficult to get hold of and the only stockist I am aware of is the Vegan Tuck Box. 
Anyway, onto the review! The caramels are soft, gooey and stick to your teeth in a way that reminded me of being little and eating all of the toffee pennies in the Quality Street tub. They had a distinctly coconut flavour to them (obviously due to the fact that they are made with coconut milk), and I really enjoyed it as it added an interesting twist on the classic flavour. The sea salt had a very subtle impact on the overall flavour, but it worked well and added a depth to it.
Overall, I was really impressed with them and regret not picking up a pack in each flavour!



Rating – 8.75/10
Vegan – Yes
Calories – 35 per Cocomel
Buy Again - Yes

Monday, 1 June 2015

Sea Salt Popchips

I am not the biggest fan of crisps and typically tend to eat popcorn with my lunch instead, but I am always open to trying new things and expanding my snacking horizons! So today I am reviewing a bag of Sea Salt Popchips. They are similar to crisps but not quite the same, because instead of being fried or even baked, they are heated in a highly pressured container. This results in them having a nice crunchy texture with less than half the fat of regular crisps but still retaining all of the flavour.
I find that salted crisps are often too salty and you can no longer enjoy the taste without guzzling a litre of water, but these Popchips seem to have perfected the ratio. Perhaps less is needed due to the way that they are cooked? I don't know if I’m honest but it works so I’m not complaining!
Overall, I enjoyed these as a nice break from my usual bag of popcorn and I would probably have them again!



Rating – 8.25/10
Vegan – Yes
Calories – 94 calories a bag
Buy Again – Yes!