Delicious Alchemy Christmas Products Review

There are 9 weeks to go until Christmas and though it still seems a little way off, it’s not too early to start getting excited!

I was definitely excited when I received an early Christmas present from the elves over at Delicious Alchemy. The team at DA kindly sent me some of their brand new Christmas products to try, and as there are some absolute crackers (Get it? Crackers?!) I thought I would share my thoughts on them with you.

All of the products below are already available to buy over on the Delicious Alchemy Shop.

Gluten Free Christmas Fruit Cake Mix

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This product was actually launched last Christmas, but I’m absolutely thrilled it’s back this year! My mum, in particular, was very impressed with this mix and thought the cake was so much better than her usual shop bought cake – and if something gets the mum seal of approval, then it must be good!

The Christmas Fruit Cake Mix is both gluten and dairy free, good for those of you with multiple intolerances. It is one of Delicious Alchemy’s more expensive baking mixes at £5, but that’s because you get a huge 650g bag which is chock full of dried fruit, including dates, raisins and sultanas and all the ingredients are spiced beautifully – as soon as I opened the bag, I could smell Christmas!

Like all Delicious Alchemy’s products, it super easy to make – the cake mix takes a matter of minutes to whip up, so it’s perfect when you’re a little short of time during the festive period.

As well as Christmas Cake, this mix would make a great Christmas Pudding!

Gluten Free Sage and Onion Stuffing

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When I received the package from Delicious Alchemy I had no idea what was going to be in it, so I was really excited when I opened it to find Stuffing Mix!

I’ve actually never had stuffing on Christmas Day because the one my family usually has contains gluten and while my parents are great at catering for my dietary requirements, I know that they can’t always find a gluten free alternative for everything.

I think they will be more than happy to try out this gluten free stuffing mix this year, as it tastes just as good as normal stuffing and you’d never know it’s gluten free. I also love the traditional flavour combination of sage and onion – yum!

As well being gluten free and dairy free, the stuffing mix is also vegetarian – which means my sister can have some too.

Again, like Delicious Alchemy’s other products, the stuffing was quick and easy to make – you add water and oil, leave the mixture to stand before rolling it up into balls shapes before baking for 20 to 25 minutes – foolproof!

If my house is anything to go by, the kitchen can get rather hectic on Christmas day –  these stuffing balls could easily be prepared the day before and baked just before you need them.

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Remember tuffing isn’t just for Christmas! You could have this stuffing all year round with a Sunday roast.

Gingerbread Mix

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The final new product is probably my favourite – Gingerbread Biscuit Mix!

As I’ve mentioned on my blog before, it’s simply not Christmas without Gingerbread and I always bake a batch on Christmas Eve to enjoy with a cup as of tea before we open our presents on Christmas morning.

I was sceptical whether this mix would live up to my own  Gingerbread recipe, but I was pleasantly surprised!

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The Gingerbread dough is easy enough to achieve – simply add butter, eggs and golden syrup, work the mixture into a dough then chill it before you cut out your biscuits to make the dough more managable.

I like my Gingerbread to pack a powerful punch, so I was worried the ginger flavour might not be strong enough for me, but the level of ginger was just right – the biscuits were sweet but with a lovely fiery kick.

I do like my Gingerbread to be a slightly darker colour though, so next time I might experiment and add a little bit of treacle as well as golden syrup.

The biscuits weren’t too soft and had some snap to them, they also kept well for a few says in an airtight container.

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I made these rather handsome gingerbread men, but you could use this mix to make more a more festive Gingerbread House.

All of the above products are available to buy as a special Christmas bundle or they can be purchased separately from Delicious Alchemy’s Shop.

Delicious Alchemy do not pay me to advertise their products, they sent me products to sample in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Silly Yak ‘Ready to Roll Pastry Block’ Review

Today I’m going to share with you my thoughts on a relatively new product available for all you Coeliacs out there: Silly Yak’s ‘Gluten Free Ready to Roll Pastry Block’.

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There has been lots of excitement growing around this product on Facebook and I can see why, as it is very difficult and time consuming to make decent gluten free pastry from scratch, so for many Coeliacs ready to roll gluten free pastry would be an absolute godsend.

At the moment this product is only stocked in selected Tesco stores and they only seem to stock it in quite small quantities, which is a bit of a shame. After a few months of searching I found Silly Yak’s list of stockists and went on a bit of a trek across London to get my hands on some.

The product can be found in the chilled foods section amongst all the normal ready to roll pastries and is not a frozen product. Sadly, it can’t be frozen so you would need to use it by it’s use by date, but you can freeze whatever you decide to make with it. I was happy to see that the pastry only costs £1.75, which I think is reasonable compared to a lot of gluten free products on the market and it is only fractionally more expensive than a lot of normal ready to roll pastries available.

I bought two packets so that I could give a few different recipes a try and attempt things that are impossible to make with homemade gluten free pastry, such as Cornish Pasties.

Initially, I was very frustrated as I found the pastry very difficult to work with.
I rolled out the pastry between two sheets of floured greaseproof paper, as gluten free pastry has a tendency to stick to the work surface, but found that it melted and stuck to the paper a bit once it had been at room temperature for a while. After cutting out the first few shapes, I attempted to to re-roll the leftover scraps of pastry but they ended up melting completely. I also had a bit of trouble rolling out the pastry thin enough and ended up with a few holes in the pastry when trying to arrange it into the right shape, but after a little bit of effort I did manage to make a few decent looking Cornish Pasties.

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After the slight debacle of assembling the pasties I’ll admit I was feeling a little sceptical, but once they came out of the oven I was much more excited to try one. They smelt great, and both the texture and taste was like that of normal pastry and in the end was worth the slightly stressful preparation.

For my second attempt I made a pie which was a bit more successful, although the pastry didn’t require handling as much.

To make handling the pastry easier I tried the following:

– Placing a chopping board in the freezer for 10 minutes, this provided a nice a cold surface on which to roll the pastry out.
– Keeping the pastry in the fridge until I need to use it.
– Rolling the pastry out between sheets of greaseproof paper.
– Chilling the left over scraps of the pastry for a few minutes before re-rolling them.

These techniques did stop the pastry from melting but I still had a little trouble getting the pastry as thin as I wanted. This said, if you don’t mind a pie that looks a little rough around edges but still tastes good then I would recommend giving this pastry a try.

Overall, the fact that this pastry tastes good which for me outweighed the difficulty of working with it. I would probably buy it again, but I do think with a few changes Silly Yak could make this product even better.

Rating: 3.5/5

You can buy Silly Yak pastry at selected Tesco stores – visit www.sillyyak.co.uk for more information. 

The Allergy & Free From Show (London Olympia) Review

Yesterday I attended the first day of The Allergy and Free From Show, which is being held this weekend (3 – 5 July 2015) at the London Olympia.

The show prides itself as being ‘Europe’s largest free-from family day out’ so I was really looking forward to seeing what was on offer and anticipated bagging myself a bargain or two.

Upon arrival I was directed into a huge hall and I was taken aback by the sheer number of exhibitors attending the show – 221 to be exact!

I am someone who ends up shopping at a number of different supermarkets in order to have more choice and to compare the deals on offer, so it was a wonderful to have so many products all under one roof – let’s just say, I was like the proverbial kid in a candy shop.
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A huge benefit of attending a show like this is getting the opportunity to try before you buy and the majority of the exhibitors also offer special deals on their products, so it’s worth bringing a bag and stocking up on your favourites.

As you’d expect, there were lots of well known brands in attendance, including:

  • Udi’s (who also sponsored the show)
  • Sainsburys
  • Tesco
  • ASDA
  • Doves Farm
  • DS (soon to be Schär)
  • Genius
  • Warburtons Newburn Bakehouse
  • Nairns
  • Bfree
  • Delicious Alchemy
  • Mrs Crimbles
  • Nak’d

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A lot of companies, especially the big brands, were showcasing new products and it was a great to opportunity to speak to companies face to face and give them feedback, which they were more than happy to receive.

I also discovered so many brands I hadn’t heard of before, including Pudology, Sweet Rebellion, Venice Bakery and Dohertys.

As you’d expect from an Allergy and Free From show, the majority of exhibitors were focused mainly on Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Egg Free and Dairy Free products, but there also quite a few companies exhibiting Nut Free and Sugar Free Products.

Despite the fact that the majority of food on offer was suitable for Coeliacs you still need to exercise some caution when sampling products as it’s not just a gluten free show. A lot of companies had signs up stating any allergens that their products might contain, but be sure to double check with the stall holders before you sample anything – they were all really friendly and more than willing to help.

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Meeting the lovely ladies at Delicious Alchemy

There were also other things to do at the show besides shopping, including cooking and baking demonstrations and a ‘speakers corner’ where people could share their experiences. There was also an activity for children called ‘Allergy Adventures’ which helped educate children with allergies on how to stay safe and healthy.

In the same hall there were two other food shows, the Love V show (for Vegetarians & Vegans) and the Love Natural Love Organic Show – both of which you could also attend if you had tickets to the Allergy and Free From Show.

Overall, I was highly impressed with the amount the show had to offer and I had such a lovely time meeting like minded people and chatting to the companies about their products. This year you could get hold of free tickets for the show which meant more to spend on bargains so it was totally worth attending! I heartily recommend this show to everyone, including those who might have friends or family who suffer from food allergies, Coeliacs Disease or IBS.

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Just a few of the bargains I picked up at the show!

Tomorrow (Sunday 5th July) is the last day you can catch the show at London Olympia but if you miss it, there is also a show in Liverpool on the 7th and 8th of November 2015 and according to their website they are planning to launch a show in Scotland in March 2016.

For more information visit: http://www.allergyshow.co.uk/london/ or for a full list of exhibitors click here.

BBC Good Food Eat Well Show

Recently, I attended the first ever BBC Good Food Eat Well Show –  an event dedicated to healthy eating and special dietary needs, including gluten free diets. 11037763_832116943527074_8783331699261664250_nThis was the first time I have attended a food show and I was hugely impressed at the amount on offer, which included over 70 stalls where you could try out and purchase various products, the ‘Eat Well Forum’ and an Interview Stage where you could query the experts, a Dietitian’s Clinic and the ‘Healthy Kitchen’ where you could watch celebrities and chefs creating exciting dishes from which to grab inspiration. I attended on the sunday so I saw Hemsley + Hemsley and Lorraine Pascale!

Among the exhibitors I spotted various Gluten Free companies including BFree, Delicious Alchemy and HECK to name just a few. It was great to speak to the companies first hand, get better idea of the products available and to try before you buy! The ladies at the BFree Stand were particularly helpful and were happy for me to sample everything, they also had some great offers available and I managed to stock up on gluten free bread and wraps at very reasonable price.

I would highly recommend attending the BBC Eat Well Show and I am already looking forward to next year – I hope they will expand the show to include more gluten free products. These shows are also a very good idea for newly diagnosed Coeliacs to attend, as it gives them the opportunity to try gluten free products without spending a fortune and to stock up very cheaply.

You can also find out more about the BBC Good Food Eat Well Show at http://www.bbcgoodfoodeatwellshow.com. 

If you want to keep up to date with my kitchen adventures you can follow me @titchyton on Instagram or you can find me on my Facebook page.