Against The Grain Almond Cookies

Against The Grain Almond Cookies Review: too good to share

Originally published on 100% Gluten Free

Against The Grain Almond Cookies

Against The Grain Almond Cookies

Several times, I’ve bought some of these ultra-delectable cookies intending to write a post about them, and up until now the temptation to scoff the lot before I’ve had a chance to take pictures has overcome me.

This time, I took the pictures as soon as I opened the pack, Phew.

Inside the box

Inside the box

Not a bad size

Not a bad size

Gluten-free, dairy-free and obviously wheat-free as well (goes without saying in my opinion, if it’s gluten-free, but people seem to want to have it confirmed), they have the texture of a good quality shortbread, but the taste… aoooh, the taste is like marzipan transformed into a crunchy, delicious biscuit. So nice, moreish in the extreme.

And that’s really all I’ve got to say about how very delicious these babies are, but I am pleased to let you know that I am now able to offer them and the other Against the Grain cookies in my online shop: Against the Grain cookies from FrannsAltHealth.


Logitech keyboard in back shows this is a big cake

Mrs Crimbles Dutch Apple Cake Review – not gluten free :(

Originally published on 100% Gluten Free

Important: It appears that the recipe has changed (or I was misinformed), and this product is no longer gluten free, which is a real shame.

Logitech keyboard in back shows this is a big cake

Logitech keyboard in back shows this is a big cake

A nice slice of cake

A nice slice of cake

I went to Morrisons this afternoon, mainly because I hoped they would have some Real Foods Corn Thins (they didn’t). I was quite disappointed by the size of the Free From section, which was half the size of the one in my local Tesco, which is a smaller store.

One product I found there that I haven’t seen anywhere else was a cake from Mrs Crimbles. As you can see from the pictures, it is a BIG cake, larger than most slab cakes on the market, even the non-gluten free ones, and it was priced at just £1.88! Which, I think you will agree, is a very good price for a gluten free product – prolly less than you would pay for a non-gluten free cake the same size – if you can get one.

So I bought it, along with something else I will review in a couple of days, and here is what I think of it.

I put it in front of my keyboard before photographing it, just so you can see how big it is. That’s a big Logitech keyboard with numeric pad included, so it’s 3 or 4 inches wider than my monitor, which is a 17″ (diagonal measurement) – in fact, I just measured the keyboard and it comes in at just over 18″ (45cm). So that cake’s huge, and if it wasn’t really nice, would be difficult to finish, but as it’s from Mrs Crimbles, I had no worries on that score.

I cut myself a slice and discovered that it had a dense texture very similar to ginger cake, and it has the same slight chewiness. I’m so glad it isn’t ginger cake, though, as I can’t stand the stuff.

The flavor is very nice and moist, with a slight crunchy crust (I guess from sugar or something), and tastes much nicer than you would expect from the “apple” description. In fact, you can’t tell there’s apple in it at all (another good thing in my book), though you can see raisins or something. It just tastes like a nice, fairly spicy cake. Cinnamon is mentioned on the label, but it’s not overpowering. As Goldilocks might say, it’s just right. And – an unusual thing in a gluten free cake – it’s not crumbly. None of that taking a bite and the rest of the cake falling apart in your hand.

If you’ve missed cake since you’ve cut out gluten, or found crumbly, dry and strange-tasting offerings that seem to have much too much bicarb in, then this cake is one to look out for. Highly recommended.


Debbie and Andrew’s Sausages Review – Warning – NOT ALL VARIETIES ARE GLUTEN FREE!

Originally published on 100% Gluten Free

Debbie & Andrew's Perfect Pork Sausages

Debbie & Andrew’s Perfect Pork Sausages

Only their Premium products are gluten free (also dairy free). This includes Harrogate 97% Pork, Perfect Pork (shown here) and Perfect Pork Cocktail, Perfect Pork Bacon Wraps, Perfect Cumberland Pork, Caramelised Red Onion Pork, Curried Chicken and Mango, Sicilian Pork, Apple and Kentish Cider Pork, Smoky Dogs, Pork and Herb Chipolatas, Sweet Chilli Pork, Buttered Onion and Mustard, Toulouse Pork, Pork and Spring Onion and Pork Black Pudding and Apple. Not a bad selection.

The Butcher’s Classic range is not gluten free.

This is a perfect demonstration of something I’ve been telling people for a couple of years, maybe more. Never trust what someone tells you is gluten free without checking for yourself.

Check the Label of Every Pack of mainstream products Every Time You Buy!

The last pack of Debbie and Andrews’ sausages I bought – after carefully checking the label – was gluten free. Then the other day, someone on Twitter said “gluten free sausages” and showed a pic of a pack of Debbie and Andrews’ sausages (with apple, a flavor I wouldn’t touch). So when I was in Tesco, I stupidly picked up another pack without checking the label. And this was a bad idea, because this pack is not gluten free.

So, anyway, what are they like? Delicious. Yummy. Very nice indeed. But make sure you get one of the Premium varieties, and none of the Butcher’s Choice!


Tesco does seem pleased with this pud!

Tesco Silky Sweet Luscious Clotted Cream Rice Pudding Review

Originally published on 100% Gluten Free

Tesco does seem pleased with this pud!

Tesco does seem pleased with this pud!

First off, let me apologise for the photo. The camera ran out of batteries and by the time I came to write this, I had already finished the pudding, so all I had left was the box (thought I’d already taken a photo of the contents, doh). Secondly, I know it’s a while since I did a review, mainly because I haven’t been trying much new stuff.

Tesco’s dessert/cream cake chiller cabinet is a dreadful place if you’re gluten intolerant… But I have found one item that, at least for the time being, is gluten free. They call it “Tesco Silky Sweet Luscious Clotted Cream Rice Pudding” – nobody would guess Tesco is a British company with all that puff for a simple rice pud! Blow their own trumpet? They just went out and got a full one-man-band outfit, from the looks.

So they’ve made a bit of a song and dance about how nice their rice pudding is. And, truthfully, it’s not bad at all, delicious in fact. Very similar to the rice pudding I used to make myself (not that I ever used clotted cream). And whether you heat it up in the microwave or bake it in the oven (a bit nicer), it’s very edible indeed.

This is the ingredients list: Milk, Clotted Cream, Sugar, Rice, Double Cream, Water, Modified Maize Starch, Flavouring, Nutmeg.

And here is the Allergy Advice panel: Contains milk [well, duh]. Recipe: no nuts. Ingredients: Cannot guarantee nut free. Factory: Before being prepared for manufacture of this product, the equipment was previously used to make products containing nuts.

So, the packet I bought was gluten free.

However, this is not a “gluten free product”, which means the recipe may change at any time. You need to check the label if you buy this yourself, to ensure that the rice pudding you are buying is also gluten free. Please remember that manufacturers change recipes all the time without any mention on the front of the pack. The only way to be sure that a mainstream product is gluten free (even if it was gluten free last time you bought it) is to Check the Label of Every Pack, Every Time You Buy!

The price for Tesco Silky Sweet Luscious Clotted Cream Rice Pudding at my local store is £2.15 for 500g. It’s supposed to be for 4 people, but in my view is only enough for 2. However, the pack contains 1060 calories, so it’s a rich and calorie-laden dessert! You could make it an occasional treat, but it’s definitely not something you should include in your diet frequently unless you’re trying to put on weight.


Mrs Crimble's Jam Coconut Rings come in packs of 6

Mrs Crimble’s Large Jam Coconut Rings Review – Wheat- and Gluten-Free

Originally published on 100% Gluten Free

Mrs Crimble's Jam Coconut Rings come in packs of 6

Mrs Crimble’s Jam Coconut Rings come in packs of 6

I’ve never seen these on sale. They were a present from my niece, up from London for a visit, along with a few other things. And a very nice present they were, too.

Perhaps a little too sweet, but they are ideal for those moments when you’re dying for something sugary and nice. They consist of a ring of coconut with a jam center. There is a disk of rice paper on the bottom to hold the jam in place. Rice paper (in case you’ve never heard of it), is edible and is designed for this purpose. Don’t – as my niece did – try and peel it off!

When I was a child, I used to love eating rice paper just on its own. It’s strange stuff, which melts in the mouth and is faintly sweet. I always thought it was made of rice, but the stuff used by Mrs Crimble for this product is made of potato starch. Of course. How silly of me!

The individual cakes, or cookies, whatever you want to call them are quite large, about 8cm (3 inches) across, and the pack weight is 240g – which means that each weighs around 40g or about one and a third ounces. The product is marked as gluten free and wheat free.

Here is the ingredients list: Coconut (27%), sugar, fruit filling (13%) (sugar, glucose syrup, water, fruit (7%) (strawberries, elderberries), gelling agent, pectin, acidity regulator, citric acid, antioxidant: sodium citrate, flavouring, preservative: potassium sorbate), glucose syrup, egg white, dextrose, potato starch, eggs, rice flour, edible rice paper (potato starch, water, palm oil), sorbitol, raspberry flavouring, colour: beta carotene. Looking through this list, I can’t see any dairy products, so these should be fine for anyone on a gluten and dairy free diet.

I don’t know how much these were. However, I’m sure that they were priced reasonably, as are all the other Mrs Crimble products I’ve tried.

Recommended.


Disappointingly crumbly

Tesco Free From Farmhouse Fruit Cake Review – Gluten Free

Originally published on 100% Gluten Free

Disappointingly crumbly

Disappointingly crumbly

I have to apologize for the quality of the photograph. I opened the packet last night, and it wasn’t the best light for taking pics. I’ve brightened it up a bit, but it’s still not as good as I would have liked.

Tesco Free From Farmhouse Fruit Cake comes in quite a small packet, without excessive packaging. Just an open top cardboard box wrapped in cellophane, and the cake is in a sort of biggish cupcake-style case (only rectangular). It looks appetizing, with a sugar crusted top.

When you open the packet, you need to use the sharpest knife you can find to slice the cake, and even then it’s difficult to get a whole slice, as the cake is very crumbly. This is not a one-off. I’ve had this cake before, and it’s always like that.

Taste-wise, the cake is quite similar to Mr Kipling’s Country Slices, though not as moist and a lot more prone to fall apart. It’s definitely not the sort of cake you can eat without a plate. Even if you have managed to cut a slice, it tends to break up when you try to take a bite as well, so you end up with a plate full of varying sizes of cake crumbs.

Before I tried the Dutch Apple Cake (turns out this isn’t gluten free any more, if it ever was) made by Mrs Crimble, I assumed that all decent gluten free cakes would suffer from the tendency to disintegrate which is exhibited by this cake. Obviously, I don’t think that any more, though I am not sure what the secret is. The Tesco cake seems to hold together best around the fruit, so perhaps it is because Mrs Crimbles cake is made with lots of apple puree (as there’s no other obvious apple presence) that holds it together. Or perhaps Tesco’s cake could do with more xanthan gum (which is listed in the ingredients, though it doesn’t seem to be performing its function of replacing gluten particularly well).

I am not unhappy about eating crumbs, though it’s more difficult. But I couldn’t serve this to guests, for sure. I think, though, that this cake would make a good base for a traditional trifle. Sure, it has fruit in it, which is not normal for the sponge at the bottom of a trifle, but as trifle contains lots of fruit anyway, I think it would work fine.

Here’s the information on the label:
Sponge cake with sultanas topped with demerara sugar. Made with rice flour, potato starch and maize starch.
Free from – Milk, wheat, gluten.
Allergy advice – Contains egg. Recipe: No nuts. Ingredients: Cannot guarantee nut free. Factory: Before being prepared for manufacture of this product, the equipment was previously used to make products containing nuts. Suitable for vegetarians.
Ingredients: Sultanas (25%), Sugar, Sunflower Oil, Rice Flour, Water, Potato Starch, Humectant (Vegetable Glycerine), Dried Egg, Demerara Sugar, Maize Starch, Raising Agents (Disodium diphosphate, Sodium bicarbonate), Salt, Stabiliser (Xanthan Gum), Emulsifiers (Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Mono- and Di-Glycerides of Fatty Acids), Preservative (Potassium sorbate), Flavouring.
Nutrition: 100g contains (typical composition): Energy 1620kJ/3900kcal Protein 3.1g; Carbohydrate 56.8g (of which sugars 21.6g); Fat 16.2g (of which polyunsaturates 9.1g); Fibre 1.0g; Sodium 0.3g; Salt 0.77g. Each slice contains the equivalent of 0.2g of salt. For guideline amounts, please visit www.tesco.com

I can’t find any weight specified on the packet. Once I’ve finished the cake, I will check more thoroughly, but in the meantime, I can tell you that the carton measures 5″x3″ or 12.5x9cm (the cake is very slightly smaller than this, due to the inner wrapper), and the cake is just under 2.5″ (6.25cm) high. It’s priced at £1.50 – which I would have reckoned a bargain before I found the Dutch Apple Cake previously reviewed.


Not Recommended

Tesco Free From Shortbread Review

Originally published on 100% Gluten Free

Not Recommended

Not Recommended

In the previous post I described my shoppint trip, where I bought the shortbread covered here and some Prewetts No Wheat Jammy Wheels, reviewed in that post.

Having tried the jammy biscuits I then opened the shortbread. I love shortbread – that crumbly buttery and not overly sweet biscuit which is just wonderful dipped in coffee or just eaten au naturel. I’ve often found (before I was gluten free) that even cheap shortbread is still very tasty, and it has always been one of my favorite treats.

It seems to me that shortbread shouldn’t be that hard to make with gluten free flours, but whether it is or not, the baker responsible for creating the Tesco Free From shortbread recipe didn’t even get close.

At least when you open the pack the contents are intact. The biscuits inside are a bit anemic looking, but that’s ok – there’s no need for shortbread to look particularly golden and inviting, so long as it tastes good. Unfortunately, it fails the test.


I took a bite, ready for the typical buttery crumbliness, and got a mouthful of dry, floury and faintly oaty but otherwise tasteless stuff. Nothing like shortbread at all. This was sad, but I thought it might be better if dipped in my coffee – which would surely get rid of that floury texture which sticks to the tongue so much – unfortunately, this had no real effect except to make the biscuit wet, even if dipped long enough to run the risk of losing part of it.

Again, I was reluctant to throw these away, and I managed to finish the packet over a period of 2 weeks, though it was much like a daily penance. The price for these was £1.25 for a 200g pack.

I won’t be buying either of these again.


Not Recommended

Prewetts No Wheat Jammy Wheels Review

Originally published on 100% Gluten Free

Not Recommended

Not Recommended

I haven’t written for a while, not having bought anything new for some time. However, I was in Tesco the other day, and took the opportunity to photograph a couple of products I’ve tried in the past – but I have no wish to buy them again.

Like me, you probably miss some favorites. In my case shortbread and Jammy Dodgers (in themselves a poor substitute for Crawfords Honey Creams, which are no longer available) are top of the list! So I was sucked in, I admit it, one day and bought a packet of Prewetts No Wheat Jammy Wheels and another of Tesco’s own brand Free From Shortbread from the free from shelf in my local store. And when I got them home, I wasted no time in tearing open the packet and making a cup of coffee to go with them.

As you can no doubt tell, I was disappointed. Both products were edible – barely – but both missed the mark in a big way.

Starting with the jammy wheels, the first disappointment was the fact that 90% of them were in little pieces. I know that it’s difficult to get gluten free products to stay together, but I still think a better stab could have been made of it. This, however, wasn’t the worst of it.

The biscuits having fallen apart in a big way, revealed a small button of “jam” in the center, which didn’t even attempt to fill the central part of the sandwich. The actual biscuit part had a very strange taste which was strongly flavored with bicarbonate of soda. Quite unpleasant.

I didn’t throw the rest of the pack away, though I was strongly tempted to do so, because I try not to throw food out if I can avoid it. They were priced at £1.49 for a 200g pack, which would have been quite good for a gluten free product if the biscuits themselves were nice.

The Tesco Free From Shortbread review is in a separate post.

I won’t be buying these again.


Mrs Crimbles corn cakes come in individually wrapped portions

Mrs Crimbles Corn Cakes Review – Wheat, Gluten and Dairy Free

Originally published on 100% Gluten Free

Mrs Crimbles corn cakes come in individually wrapped portions

Mrs Crimbles corn cakes come in individually wrapped portions

Contents of one portion pack

Contents of one portion pack

Unlike all other Mrs Crimbles products I’ve tried, I’m less than enthusiastic about (her/their?) corn cakes. This is not because they are nasty, because they are not. It’s just that there is another similar product which I prefer.

As you can see from the photograph, the corn cakes come in a cardboard outer box, and inside there are four separate portion packs. There are five corn cakes in each pack, which I find a little too much to eat at one go, but as they are sure to go soft if not eaten, I generally do. The whole pack is currently priced at £1.25 at Tesco.

These corn cakes are extremely delicate, and are often already broken when you open the inner packaging. This isn’t as bad as it sounds, because the bits are quite like a snack product, so you just nibble the smaller pieces like crisps.

Because they are so fragile, it’s quite difficult to spread anything on them, like butter or cream cheese, without breaking them. So my advice if you are buying them is to always soften the butter first in winter, or if you are one of those people who keeps it in the fridge, by zapping it in the microwave for a few seconds. If you don’t you will end up with a lot of little bits.

So far as flavor goes, these are fine. They are about as tasty as the average crispbread – that is, not very tasty. They are nice enough to eat with just butter, though I generally have them with cream cheese and smoked salmon.

The product I prefer is becoming more difficult to get. They are Corn Thins by Real Foods Pty, which are round and do not come packed in individual portions, but they keep well enough in an airtight container. They also have less of a tendency to fall apart and are not full of little dents that make a thin coating of butter/whatever difficult. Better if you’re watching your weight, I feel. Unfortunately, although I used to be able to get these in Tesco, Sainsbury and some Morrisons, none of the local branches of these stores carries them any more, so to get them I either have to get a bus into Morningside, where there is a health food store that stocks them, or order them by mail.

I recommend, if you have a choice of Mrs Crimbles corn cakes or Corn Thins, to go for the Corn Thins, but either will be ok.


Shoot the taste tester

Morrisons Free From Syrup Sponge Pudding Review – gluten free, wheat free, dairy free

Originally published on 100% Gluten Free

Shoot the taste tester

Shoot the taste tester

I’ve been quite hesitant about doing this review, but it has to be done.

On the shopping trip of which I have written before, I bought a Morrisons free from Syrup Sponge Pudding, because hot puddings are something I really miss – at least occasionally. I chose a golden syrup sponge because, I reasoned, there isn’t much that can go wrong with a “treacle pudding”, as I generally call them.

It comes in a sleeve, and is a miniature white pudding basin sealed with a piece of plastic sheeting. I took it out of the sleeve, added ventilation and stuck it in the microwave for the time stated on the packaging. When I removed the “lid” the pudding was about halfway up or a little more. There was plenty of room to add anything you would like to. As I generally like a lot more golden syrup than is supplied, I added some, and then a good dollop of squirty cream.

I took a spoonful of the pudding, which had some extra syrup and some cream on the top. When I tasted it, I was surprised to find that it was disgusting. I scraped aside the additions and took a spoonful on its own. It tasted as if it had been eaten by someone else, who had quietly regurgitated it and put it back in the packet – in other words, it tasted like vomit, though the texture was completely different. I tried to eat another spoonful – well half a spoonful absolutely plastered in the extra syrup and cream, but it was inedible even masked in this way. So I ended up throwing it away, which was annoying.

What really got me about this product, apart from the vileness, was the fact that they have written all over the packaging the word “deliciously”. Which presumably means that somebody has taste tested it – but who? I think we should be told.

Having thrown this product away, I was still left with a serious hot-pudding-with-syrup craving – so I cut a slice off the Mrs Crimbles cake I reviewed earlier, poured on a couple of teaspoons of golden syrup and zapped it for a few seconds, then ate it with some cream. It tasted great. And the portion was probably bigger than the one I had just thrown away.

This pudding was priced around the £1.20 mark (can’t remember for sure), so it’s no great loss, but I would advise you – if you see this, do not buy it. You’ll regret it if you do.

Here is the ingredients list (probably a dead giveaway if I had read it before purchase):
Morrisons Pudding ingredients