Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Pie no 4 is - Genius gluten-free mince pies

There has been a lot of buzz about the launch of Genius mince pies.  As the bread is now widespread and loved by many non-gluten eaters, there has been a lot of anticipation about their mince pies, so I was very much looking forward to seeing what they were like.

They looked quite different from the other ones I had tried, very round and flat looking and not like a typical mince pie, I quite liked the look of them but Jools didn’t, preferring a more traditional looking mince pie.  But how did they taste?  The pastry was delicious, soft, a bit crumbly (but in a good way) and a really nice texture and taste.  The fruit was plump and lovely and we basically loved these the best.

Overall score 5/5 – Too good to share

Winner of the great gluten-free mince pie taste test – Genius mince pies, get down to Tesco and bag some!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Pie no 3 is – Lovemore free from mince pies – bought from Waitrose

I love shopping in Waitrose, it’s more of a special occasion shop for me but I always love the quality of food I get.  Their own brand free from range however has always disappointed me as I haven’t felt the quality is very good, Waitrose are always good at buying in good brands though and I discovered lazy days initially in Waitrose, which I love. 

I didn’t find any own brand mince pies in Waitrose but they did have Lovemore which I tried.

The look didn’t impress me, it was very ‘made in a factory’ looking, they actually reminded me a lot of Mr Kipling’s apple pies!  They were a nice golden colour, My first bite revealed a thick layer of pastry, there was a strange aftertaste from the fruit and overall I didn’t like these at all, Jools refused to have more than one bite as he said they were so horrible!  How disappointing, I would definitely not recommend these, they are by far the worst I have tried. 

Overall score 1/5 – only good enough for Santa 

Monday, 19 December 2011

Pie no 2 is – OK Foods free from mince pies – bought from Morrison’s

I have never tried mince pies bought from Morrison’s before so I was looking forward to trying them out.  

The Morrison’s pie looks a lot like the Sainsbury’s one, also plain top which is fluted, I think the colour is maybe a bit too pale, It looked a bit grey when I went to eat it!  

It had quite a short pastry but was really crumbly; it pretty much fell apart when I tried to cut one in half.  The fruit was ok and the overall taste was ok but definitely not up to the standards of some of the others I have tried.

Overall score is 3/5 – pleasant

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Pie no 1 is - Sainsbury’s free from mince pies

I shop at Sainsbury’s so I have had a fair few of these mince pies already this month.

These mince pies look pretty good, they are plain with a fluted top and are quite golden in colour.  

The pasty is good, quite short with a nice texture; the fruit is plump and tasty.  The only downside on these is they taste a bit too sugary for my liking but overall it’s a good mince pie and Jools is happy to eat these even though he isn’t gluten-free.

Overall score 4/5  - tasty

The great Gluten Free Mince pie taste test

Welcome to the great mince pie taste test!  Let me start by saying that I LOVE mince pies, they have to be slightly warm with brandy cream and I am in heaven.  Every year I get bought copious amounts of mince pies by my lovely friends and family who expect me to eat a whole box at a time as they have bought them in (specially)! As a result I am often mince pied out before now!  This year I banned everyone from doing this and promised I would try them all out so I can focus my purchasing on the best ones out there, Jools and I have tried all the ones I have been able to get hold of and we have tried to give them a fair score out of 5. I am therefore going to write a short post about each one every day and hopefully at the end we will have crowned a winner!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Fondant cupcake class with Faircake

I love cooking and baking and being allergic to gluten I definitely seem to bake more,  as there are still so many things you cant always buy!  My mission this year was to learn how to work with fondant icing in order to bake and decorate a cake for my sons 1st birthday in January.  I found out about the company whilst on another course with the GF Baker earlier this year.  I met a keen cook who had started making cupcakes for friends weddings, she showed me some pictures on her iphone and I was blown away by how professional they looked, she said she had done a few classes with a company called Faircake so I immediately booked on a course for December choosing the fondant decorating course.  They were incredibly accommodating when I phoned to ask if I could bake GF cakes on the day and said they would provide the flour and baking powder, now there are obviously other people baking too so there is a small risk of contamination.  When I arrived in a really nice workshop space in Greenwich, I was pleased to meet Shikhita (founder of Faircake) and the 3 other attendees, I was really glad it was such a small class and obviously that meant less flour flying around so I felt happy.  We started off baking our cupcakes, the workstations were clean and had all the equipment you needed, once they were ready to go in the oven we started on the fondant icing.  

This was really fun, we coloured the icing different colours as well as some stripy details, we then also coloured the florist paste, which would be the basis of our decorations.  Shikhita was incredibly chatty throughout and added to the fun of the day. Lunch isn’t provided but you get a break to eat, I prefer this as it means the cost isn’t included and you can just bring your own stuff.  Once cooled we learnt how to cover the cupcakes in the fondant and then got to work on the intricate decorations that would go on top.  This was definitely the fun bit, Shikhita showed us how to make various animals from simple cutters, there was every shape and size cutter you could imagine so after we had done a few, we then started to let our creativity run riot and make up our own designs.  Overall I had a fantastic day, and I can’t quite believe I have made these cupcakes, as they look so professional!  (Nor can a lot of people who have seen them)! I spent a fortune buying equipment so I can give it a go at home and would highly recommend a Faircake class, you never know if enough of us ask they might even put on a Gluten-free one in the future.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Sainsburys - New product alert - Choc chip brioche rolls

Whilst grocery shopping last week I spotted some new chocolate chip brioche rolls in the freefrom range in Sainsburys, and promptly bought them to try.  I didn't have very high hopes, as I haven't enjoyed the croissants or the pan au chocolate I have tried in this range, both being quite dense and a bit tasteless, however I was very pleasantly surprised with these brioche, they were really nice, good light texture, sweet flavour and lots and lots of chocolate chips yum!

They are quite small so you really need to eat both! They were very nice and I will be buying them again for an indulgent breakfast.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Red velvet cupcake @ Lola's

So I finally got to try a Lola’s cupcake, this has been my most anticipated cupcake review, as PR about the company seems to be everywhere right now!  I also follow them on twitter and am regularly inundated with re-tweets of customers saying how wonderful the cakes are.  I had tried to get hold of one in Selfridges and Topshop a few weeks ago but alas they had sold out of gluten free ones (there is 1 gluten free cake flavour per day and when they’re gone they’re gone)! I finally did pick one up in the Topshop concession, the flavour was red velvet. 

Let me start this review by saying it looked beautiful!  It is the most beautiful cupcake I have seen to date, the frosting looks expertly piped, the case is a metallic gold, and the sprinkles are red and a silver glitter and it just looks amazing.  But how does it taste I hear you bellow?  

The sponge is melt-in-your mouth gorgeous, it is a tad crumblier than other sponges but it tastes delicious, it’s a great flavour and a gorgeous deep red colour.  The cream cheese frosting, as well as looking wonderful, tasted heavenly, Jools kept saying ‘are you sure this is gluten free’? Well it doesn’t get any better than that does it?  I have a loyalty card, and I intend to use it, please do more gluten free cakes Lola’s!

Red Velvet Cupcake - 10/10 The best cupcake eva!

Verified by Jools