Monday, 20 March 2017

Deliciously Ella Ginger and Cashew Energy Ball Review

I live off energy balls and healthy snacks nowadays - yes they contain sugar but they're generally natural sugars and definitely offer more nutrition than chocolate or biscuits. These Deliciously Ella energy balls are in a similar vein to the plethora of other healthier snacks being made from natural ingredients, no refined sugars, dairy free, wheat free, gluten free and vegan ..... but they're not free from taste.

First I will say these are ridiculously expensive. £2 when you can get a Nakd bar for 75p is quite a difference and I'm sure a lot of the money you are paying is for the Deliciously Ella name....but these are so delicious I can't help but enjoy them.

I'll admit the photo of the product looks a little....unappetising but it smells gorgeously gingery and tastes even more so. If you don't like ginger there's nothing for you here as these are extremely fiery with a earthy raw ginger taste that might not be for everyone but I loved it. The ball has the perfect texture, firm and sticky and dense and feels substantial. It's got a little sweetness from the dates with that spicy gingery potency and makes for a wholesome, feel good snack.

3 dates, 8 cashews, 1 tsp oats , 1/4 tsp ginger are the only ingredients so you can't knock their naturalness and I certainly couldn't knock the taste. Overpriced but very tasty.

Price: £2.00
Bought at: Holland and Barrett
Nutrition per ball: 152 calories, 6.8g fat, 1.4g sat fat, 16.1g sugars, 1.5g fibre, 3.5g protein, 0g salt

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Warburtons Protein Wraps

Generally I often find 'protein' branded products are all hype and whilst they may contain a little extra protein, they're generally not that good for you or that necessary. However, I have to say I was really quite impressed by these protein wraps from Warburtons.

Each one contains a pretty impressive 10g of protein - that's more than an egg and it's coming from plant sources as well. Wholemeal flour is a natural source of protein anyway but this then has additional plant based protein from pulses in the form of chickpea flour, pea protein and navy bean flour. Pulses are also excellent sources of fibre and as well as being protein, the wraps are high fibre with 5g each. They're not labelled as vegan but appear to be although are made in a factory that uses milk.

They definitely feel very different to normal wraps when both handling them and eating them. They're maybe a little stiffer, slightly less soft and feel a bit more wholesome. In some ways they remind me of the texture of gluten free wraps. But this isn't a criticism. I actually really like the flavour and texture of these - they feel more substantial, more wholegrain and I guess if you're after just a delicious wrap and not interested in health these might be a bit worthy but I think they're tastier than normal wraps due to the nuttier flavour and the texture the pulses bring.

Keeping it plant based I filled mine with roasted red peppers, onions, hummus and pumpkin seeds and it made for a delicious lunch and felt more filling yet also lighter than a normal wrap. I imagine these would be great for vegetarian burritos as well and something I will continue to buy.

Price: £1.27
Bought at: Morrisons
Nutrition per wrap: 184 calories, 3.3g fat, 0.8g sat fat, 2.4g sugars, 10.2g protein, 5g fibre, 0.67 salt

Score: 8.5/10

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Marks and Spencer Beetroot and Lemon Ravioli

Is anyone else finding M&S a bit dull at the moment? It's always been my go to shop for delicious treats and exciting and innovative new products you wouldn't see anywhere else but recently there's not been a lot their grabbing my attention. They've got a few new pasta and sauce products so decided to grab these beetroot and lemon zest ravioli as I've never seen this flavour in pasta before and really couldn't imagine lemon in pasta. But it's a bit sad when the most exciting thing in M&S grabbing your attention is filled pasta!

I couldn't deny these looked spectacular - beautifully cut shapes with a deep dark purple inner waiting to burst out. Costing a prett price £3.29 I think (definitely over £3) this is a lot for fresh pasta especially as Waitrose do some very good filled pasta for less than this (their pumpkin and pinenut ravioli is divine).

Fresh pasta is always easy to cook and this was no exception. A quick boil and dinner was served. As I was hoping this would be bursting with flavor, I didn't think it would need a sauce as I rarely have sauce with filled pasta.

Cutting in there is a definite beetroot flavour that is rich and creamy without that earthiness of raw beetroot. Instead it was soft and sweet and the lemon zest really worked giving it an uplifting little kick and aftertaste.

The problem is the pasta is so soft, I cooked to instructions and it just didn't have the texture of other supermarket fresh pasta; it was just a bit limp and damp and with the soft filling, I missed having any texture in my meal.

The other thing is it is ridiculously salty. Why do supermarkets think luxury food needs loads of salt. It's just not necessary. It's not awful, in fact it's pretty tasty and I did like it but it's unexceptional and I wouldn't buy it again when there is better and cheaper fresh pasta out there.

Price: £3.29
Bought at: M&S

Score: 6.5/10

Friday, 17 March 2017

Cauldron Vegan Sausages

I've bought Cauldron falafel for a nmber of years now and fully recommend them - they're delicious in a wrap with hummus and help make any salad more exciting. It's great to see the brand going into frozen veggie options as well with the launch of vegan burgers and vegan sausages.

I've never liked meat sausages so always have had veggie sausages which I find more interesting, healthier and tastier. These are made simply from a mix of grilled vegetables like red and yellow peppers, courgettes, onions and haricot beans with some bulking and spices including rosemary, paprika and basil and tomato pesto.

You get six in a pack and they are quite small.Two was enough for me but at only 160 calories, you could easily have three. They're pretty guilt free and as they're plant based, you're getting the goodness of vegetables as well as a product that is high in fibre and protein as well as low in saturated fat.

I made a classic 'sausage' sandwich with them but I've also had them just with potatoes and veg ans they're delicious by themselves. They won't feel anyone that they're not meat. They're softer than meat sausages with no hint of meaty taste unlike products like Quorn. Instead these are properly veggie with lots of soft veggie taste that is made delicious by smoky paprika and the tang of pesto. They're rich, tomatoey and a little bit spicy with the odd bit of bite from the haricot beans.

I really enjoyed them and these will be a staple in my freezer now. I'll probably end up trying the vegan burgers too.

Price: £2.25
Bought at: Sainsburys
Nutrition per 2 sausages: 146 calories, 4.2g fat, 0.2g sat fat, 4.1g sugars, 8.1g fibre, 8.6g protein

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Muller Light Blackcurrant and Liquorice Limited Edition

I really dislike Muller yogurts and I really, really dislike Muller Lights - artificial, watery, runny and everything I think is wrong with the food industry. Take a naturally healthy product like yogurt, water it down, put in weird chemicals and stabilisers and artificial sweeteners and call it healthy because it's fat free and under a 100 calories, nevermind you've taken a lot of the natural nutrition out.

But somehow I was in a petrol station in need of a yogurt fix and saw this limited edition blackcurrant and liquorice version. I love both these flavours but really couldn't see how they would work together at all.

But somehow they do in a really pleasant way. It's starts off with the fruitiness of blackcurrant and it is definitely blackcurrant you taste rather than generic fruit. It lasts for a while with a nice not overly sweet flavour and then you get a hint of liquorice which becomes the last note you taste. It's not overly potent so you taste blackcurrant again when you go for the next spoonful but you get a nice little fix of it with a bit of a liquorice allsorts flavour.

It's actually really quite tasty and for a Muller Light it's actually thicker than I remember them being. It's far way from being a Greek yogurt which is my preferred yogurt thickness but it's not overly watery and has a certain creaminess.

I'm a little ashamed to say I really enjoyed this. It's tasty and also feels quite light. I probably wouldn't buy it again just because I don't like excessively artificial food but it does taste really good.

Price: 89p in an Esso garage but cheaper in supermarkets
Score: A reluctant 8/10

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Pret Dairy Free Chocolatey Coconut Bite

Whenever I see a Pret I always tend to go for my lunch there as there's not one in my town and I love their on trend, healthy and fresh choices. Pret is also great for vegetarian and vegan food with ever more veggie choices. Along with one of the new coconut lattes (which I fully recommend) and a vegan salad, I bought this dairy free bar on impulse at the till.

Costing a slightly expensive but not ridiculous £1.20, this bar is vegan made only with creamed coconut, dessiccated coconut, dairy free dark chocolate, natural vanilla flavouring, carob syrup, coconut oil and salt so all very clean.

Initially what I expected was a more raw, earthy kind of bar but with my first bar, my expectations were severely overthrown - this tastes literally like a bounty bar!!! I thought it would be dry but it's so rich and creamy, really chocolatey and totally indulgent. No one would be able to tell it was vegan or dairy free, it's that tasty.

The inside is more crumbly than maybe a bounty and you do get in a slight mess with it but that's because this contains so may real coconut that is fudgy and creamy rather than fake syrups with coconut flavour. If you like coconut in any way, you'll love this. The dark chocolate is also very high quality. It's only a thin coating with the focus on the coconut inside but it adds a nice counter point and melts beautifully in the mouth with the coconut.

However, one small word of caution, this little 34g contains a whopping 15g sat fat and 200 calories so don't go thinking they're guilt free. However, it does have less sugar in that a standard chocolate bar with just 5.8g vs around 25g or more.

When vegan food this is tasty, I just wish such choices were more widely available. Nice one Pret.

Price: £1.20
Bought at: Pret
Nutrition per bar: 205 calories, 17.9g fat, 15.4 sat fat, 5.8g sugars, 0g salt

Monday, 20 February 2017

Foodloose SMU:DI Raw Smoothie Bar

Bit of a weird snack today. I actually got this bar from a health food in Portugal although it appears to be a German company and made in Germany. Germany has quite a big organic market and this raw smoothie bar is made from organic organic ingredients as well as being vegan and paleo.

What also make this a bit different is its flavour and ingredients. Spinach, mint and orange is a far cry from the flavours we get from Nakd and this is a fruit, vegetable and seed bar with some pretty out there ingredients like moringa and and hemp. Opening it up, it has a nice fruity smell that smells quite refreshing and uplifting - it's less of a sweet sticky date-like smell than the Nakd bars and it's also less squat with a larger surface area and less dense texture that is slightly chewier.

Made up of dates, sultanas, sunflower seeds, almonds, peeled hemp seeds, dried and ground spinach, cold press avocado oil, moringa leaf powder, dried and ground orange and dried and ground mint, it doesn't have the date flavour you get from a lot of cold pressed bars.

But it also doesn't have a green or overly vegetable flavour from spinach or avocado. Instead, it's the citrus freshness and zing of orange and uplifting mint that really shine through. It's definitely feels good for you with quality ingredients and all plant based but tastes really like light and tasty.

I'd love to see these available in the UK as they're just a bit different to other raw bars out there, less sweet but with a more complex flavour and less fudge texture.

Nutrition per bar: 139 calories, 6g fat, 0.6g sat fat, 14g sugars, 0.04g salt
Score: 8/10