Freefrom Christmas with Sainsbury’s

I’ve written a few blog posts recently about trying to reduce milk and wheat from my diet and when I was given the oppertunity to try a selection of Freefrom festive treats from  Sainsbury’s I couldn’t say no! All of the Freefrom goodies are Gluten, wheat and dairy free.

Here is the gorgeous selection of treats. There are cranberry and orange muffins, iced mince pies, mint chocolate crisps, gingerbread, chocolate logs, chocolate disks and a panettone style loaf.

Sew White Freefrom Sainsbury's Christmas treats 2

To test this fully I got in back up to help me test it all in the form of my friend and coeliac. She made a very good point of saying she was testing it against other Gluten Free products and that I was testing it against what the taste of the regular products.

We started off with the mince pies and they smelled amazing! The pastry was crumbly but wasn’t the most tasty but with the rich fruit and icing the pastry worked well. We both agreed that their was too much icing on the top and it was incredibly sugary! A thinner bit of icing or even a little star of icing on the top would have made the mince pies perfect. We both agreed these were a nice treat.

Next up was the chocolate logs. These are were like little chocolate brownies with icing. YUM! They tasted good and tasted very similar to regular gluten filled chocolate cakes and brownies. The log portion was huge and we both agreed that if it was cut in half that would have been enough. It was rather rich and filling. It’s not usual I can’t eat a lot of chocolate but that one was strong.

The gingerbread man I was very curious by. Having made gingerbread last week I knew the main ingredients are flour and butter so how could they make it without these. The gingerbread was rock hard and although it smelled nice and gingery it didn’t taste very great sadly. We both had high hopes for it but never mind there was more to try.

The little chocolates were next up and these were also sadly not very nice. Taking the dairy out of chocolate doesn’t seem to produce nice results. The mint crisp chocolates were oddly a lot better. The mint worked with the chocolate taste and had an After Eight feel about them. These were nice.

We then took a nice big slice each of the panettone style cake. It smelled amazing and tasted brilliant. It tasted exactly the same as regular panettone but oddly had a softer crumb. It was so delicious and we ate our slices fairly quickly. If we didn’t have anything else to try I’m sure we would have polished that off in a few minutes. I really want to use this for a panettone baked fruit pudding. I’m hoping my local Sainsbury’s have it in stock at the weekend.

Last but not least the cranberry and orange muffins. These were amazing! The orange was so strong and delicious. I couldn’t ask for a nicer muffin. The flavour was good, the texture was good and it went very well with a cup of tea.

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After trying all these together it is really pleasing to know that there is some delicious food out there for those who can’t have gluten, wheat or dairy. Since eating more freefrom items I’ve noticed how much better I feel. I’m hooked!

Thank you Sainsbury’s.

Christmas Cocktails with Aldi – Cranberry Woowoo!

After the fabulous Snowball cocktail using the advocaat I decided to make one of my favourites a cranberry Woowoo. The Woowoo was the first cocktail I ever had and I haven’t made one before so I was a bit excited.

I used the Tamova Vodka (£9.99) and Oscar’s peach Schnapps (£4.79) from Aldi.

Sew White Christmas cocktails using Aldi

I love the jam jars for cocktails and adding a little bit of ribbon I thought was very cute.

The Woowoo cocktail is very juicy and has cranberry juice, vodka, peach schnapps and squeeze of lime. It’s very simple and as I learned very quick and easy to make. As the jam jar glasses are so big they needed a lot of ice! A Christmas cocktail to enjoy while wearing gloves! It was so cold x

Sew White Christmas cocktails Aldi Tamova Vodka 2

Woowoo recipe
for 1 cocktail

1 x 25ml measure or Tamova Vodka from Aldi
1 x 25ml measure Oscar’s peach schnapps from Aldi
100ml cranberry juice
Squeeze of lime
ice

Mix the alcohol together with the cranberry juice. Pour it into a glass over ice and squeeze the lime on the top.

Enjoy!

Sew White Christmas cocktails Aldi Tamova Vodka 1

Using a proper measure of cocktails is brilliant! I love using them so much. Any excuse for a cocktail!

Macsween Haggis Meal Makeover

Last week I was contacted on twitter by Macsween haggis asking if I would like to try their haggis meal makeover. I have never tried haggis and was a little weary of it but after telling my dad who said I would absolutely love it and insisted to me I must try it so I said yes.

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This lovely box was filled with everything I would need to make fabulous haggis nachos.

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Everything ready for the nachos.

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Reading the ingredients of the haggis I have to admit I did get a bit freaked out when it said lungs but everything else in the list seemed good to me. I thought I would be brave and try it. Everyone on twitter, fb and instagram were so positive about haggis describing it as a posh and unusual sausage, so I was very intrigued. As we microwaved the haggis it smelled amazing.

The recipe for haggis nachos is available at www.macsween.co.uk/recipes/haggis-nachos

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The recipe was so easy and not a recipe I would have put with haggis in my mind but it really worked. Tortilla chips with the hot haggis on top, cover in cheese and put under the grill on low-medium to let the cheese melt and warm up the chips. Spoon out the salsa, soured cream, guacamole and put some chopped chillies on top if you like spice. It was so easy to make and took barely any time at all.

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Ready to eat. I loved how bright and cheery it was. The broken up haggis looked like minced beef and couscous and if I didn’t know it was haggis I would have taken it as peppery and beef.

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Like the scaredy cat I am was very tentative abut taking the first bite but it was really nice! The spices were strong and the meatiness was nice. It was nice to try a new food especially in a fun and tasty way. Thank you Macsween for letting me try haggis for the first time. I’ll be having this again!

Christmas Retro Cocktails with Aldi – Advocaat

I will admit that my knowledge of cocktails is very small but when I get the opportunity to try new ones I am very happy to learn and taste more of them. Aldi is known for having an amazing alcohol selection which is constantly winning awards! This Christmas they have a fabulous selection including Vodka (wow it’s strong), Irish Country Cream (award winner and seriously good) and the blast from the past Advocaat.

Sew White Christmas cocktails using Aldi

 When I told my friends and family I had Advocaat everyone went ‘Wow’ and ‘How retro’. Then they all asked for a cocktail and those who had never tried one were very curious, I think mainly because of the colour. It seems like it’s an oldie but a goodie. The colour is certainly strong and rather festive. The most popular and well known advocaat cocktail is the Snowball and it is as fun as it sounds. It does contain egg but is made in such away you don’t notice it and it doesn’t have any of the egg texture.

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I was asked by a friend to describe the taste and in my opinion I thought it tasted like creamy lemonade. I know that sounds odd but it was nice! It tasted very retro. It was festive and I’m certainly tempted to have another drink soon.

Recipe
2 measures of advocaat roughly 50ml
1 measure of lime juice 25ml (I used half a lime)
Top up with lemonade (it is mostly a lemonade drink but make it to taste)
Ice cubes or crushed ice

Pop all the ingredients into a shaker and give it a good shake and pour in a glass.
If you don’t have a shaker you can mix it in the glass that works too!
Serve and enjoy immediately.

As you don’t need much per drink one bottle will last a while! The bottle costs £5.99 and is from Aldi.

Sew White Christmas cocktails Aldi Advocaat 3

I was sent the Aldi drinks to review. All opinions are my own.

Dragonfly Tea – A tasty review

Yep it’s time for tea again!

For the last few weeks I’ve been trying out this glorious tea from Dragonfly Tea. It is seriously stunning tea so it’s easy to have a lot of cups of it in one day.

Dragonfly tea review

The Earl Grey is glorious and the full set of 20 tea bags were gone in less than a week. The English breakfast tea was the next one to run out it was so fresh and delight to start the day with. I don’t think I’ve ever had organic tea before and there was something very fresh about the tea.

The Cape Malay Chai tea is an unusual tea. I absolutely love it but it is unusual. The spices are delicious with a smooth taste and I’m convinced that it would taste amazing used in biscuits or maybe a cake. Tea and cake in one go is always good. The Indian Spice Chai tea is lovely and has a traditional and rich taste.

All the tea bags came individually wrapped which I love as it keeps them fresh but also means you can pop some in your handbag for later. Yes I have tea in my handbag. I’m awesome.

All these teas tasted wonderful and trying to pick an absolute favourite would be too hard. If you want a special cup of tea I’d recommend Dragonfly Tea.

The have loads of other flavours to try so my shopping list is huge! www.dragonflytea.com

They also have some beautiful tea caddies which would make wonderful gifts.

I was given the tea to review. All opinions are my own.

Gingerbread Georgian Town House

The Christmas OXO and Stork got together to set bloggers a gingerbread challenge using their new good grips products. Their products are lovely. Strong and as the name suggests they have excellent grips which makes baking so much easier especially when you’re working with greasy things like buttery gingerbread. For my gingerbread house this year I wanted to try something hard and special. I wanted to make a Georgian town house! Why not aim big when creating gingerbread houses. I was very lucky that what I imagined mostly was made. In my mind I was a lot better at piping.

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OXO Good Grips are fantastic little products and incredibly useful. The mini weighing scales are so cute. I don’t know why but things in miniature are cute! The measuring spoons are lovely and they have a little leveling piece so you can get precise amounts. The 8 piece decorating kit is pretty awesome. Two bottles which I thought I would be a bit small but were perfectly sized to hold. There was a good mix of nozzle patterns and sizes included. The silicone spatula is very light and really helps scrape the mixing bowl. The whisk is so strong and large. I love it. As I couldn’t find my sieve I used the whisk to break up the flour. I’d never used Stork butter before for gingerbread or biscuits but to my surprise it worked very well. I used the stork melted instead of unsalted butter and it worked very well. I would recommend it.
You can see all the lovely kitchen and baking accessories on their website www.oxouk.com The egg separator from OXO is on my wishlist.

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Of course for gingerbread you need dark muscovado – I love Billington’s sugar for this. It’s so rich and it’s darkness brings out a gorgeous colour gingerbread. You also need golden syrup and there isn’t any other brand other than Lyle’s for me to use for baking. I used the gingerbread recipe from the Great British Bake Off stoppers book with extra ginger and cinnamon.

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So much flour so little time! I made two batches for the construction of the house. I think one would have worked but I wanted to make sure. The spatula was so useful to to mix it all together and scrap down the sides of the bowl.

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When it came to measuring the ginger and mixed spice for the flavour the spoons were so sweet. I love the big dots of colour to show which of the sizes I needed. The scraper bit was rather fun too. Very good for those of us who are rather OCD when it comes to baking.

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The little weighing scales were brilliant and measured up to 500g and had ounces on the other side. I did have to measure the flour and sugar in two goes as it was so big for it’s weight. I really like this and it’s so light. It would be a brilliant gift or purchase for bakers with small kitchens and limited space to store items.

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It then came to decorating the gingerbread and I suddenly got very worried. My icing skills are not the best but the little squeeze nozzle bottles were brilliant. The bottle was big enough to fit in my hand and I could get a good grip on it and hold it steady while I piped. I loved the collection of nozzles included but the only thing I would have liked was a smaller round tip nozzle for piping. It does include a line nozzle but it did make the line rather thick but I liked piping with it.

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Here is my gingerbread house taking shape. I really liked the bottle. Even though small it fits in more than you think it would. Plus it was so easy to hold. I really don’t like piping bags and this is a great piece of kit I will be using for all my icing needs from now on. It gave me a lot of confidence and I really want to ice more biscuits now.

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Ta-da! Here is my finished Georgian town house made of gingerbread.  I wasn’t planning on doing blue lines around the windows but as the colour I put in was a bit too pale there wasn’t a defined enough line. I have to say I really do like the mix of white, light blue and sky blue on the gingerbread. The colours works very well.

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I’m so impressed with my efforts and I’m really proud of my creation. Especially as my friends and family saw it and knew it was a Georgian house straight away.

I was sent the OXO good grips and stork to try out.
All opinion and work is my own.

Breakfast with MOMA

 There is nothing better than starting a cold day with hot and tasty porridge. 

 The wonderful company MOMA were so incredibly kind and sent me a morning saviour kit to help me start my day in style.

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 The lovely box contained plain and cranberry/raisin porridge, a cup, tea, honey and hand cream.
A lovely selection of goodies to make the day start well.

At the moment I am having to make sure I eat well and trying to cut down sugars when all I crave is sugar is really hard. The little porridge portion has really helped me feel so much better every day. Staying away from cold milk is making me feel better too. As MOMA porridge is made with water which I was a little worried about for taste but it really works!

The size of the MOMA pots are so cute and brilliant for using as hand warmers on cold mornings.

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 The fantastic steens honey is delicious and the mini packets are a fantastic portion to add to a MOMA breakfast porridge pot. The honey is raw and tastes so much fresher and richer than regular honey. It is also the perfect sweetness.

This honey with a sprinkle of cinnamon in the original porridge is so tasty and a lovely way to start the day.

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Little things make me happy and the fill line in my new breakfast tea mug always makes me giggle.

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 I had never tried Matcha before and wow it is nice. I really want to drink more.

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The gorgeous morning saviour kit was given to me to review. All opinions are my own.

Dream Non Dairy Ice Cream Christmas Sprinkle Sundae

There is a fabulous new range of ice cream from the makers of Rice Dream dairy free milk. The ice cream is made ground almonds and is incredibly luxurious. I was worried it wouldn’t taste like ice cream as it doesn’t have cream but wow. I think it tastes so much better than other ice creams on the market. Everyone should switch to this ice cream whether you can or cannot have dairy. Plus it’s also gluten free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The flavours are incredibly strong and moreish. Incredible!

I think it’s obvious I like this ice cream.

To celebrate the new ice cream I made a gorgeous Christmas sprinkle Sundae. I did go a little bit mad with the sprinkles. I blame the inner child completely! Marshmallows go with the ice cream very very well indeed!

Sew White Dream Non Dairy ice cream Christmas sprinkle Sundae 1

In other blog posts I’ve mentioned how I’m trying to cut down the amount of dairy I have and I have already noticed a huge difference to my health. I feel so much better reducing it and now I’m hunting out alternatives to milk for cereal and and drinks. As it’s winter I hadn’t really thought about ice cream for a while but getting to try dairy free ice cream was too good of an opportunity to pass up. After eating what I would describe as a large portion I felt very happy and my body did too. I can forsee myself eating so much more of this ice cream in the future.

The range of ice cream is impressive. The vanilla is so smooth and has a rich vanilla flavour. The mint chocolate chip has to be my favourite. It is so good and the mint tastes fresh and the chocolate is delicious. The salted caramel flavour I was curious about but wow! Unusual and was the first tub finished off first in my house. The praline crunch was interesting and tasted very nice indulgence. I like that the flavours have such an intensity that you don’t need anything with it but sprinkles are very much recommended.

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The colour of the ice cream is a rich and warm brown and doesn’t reveal how impressive the taste is.

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All I needed for my sprinkle dairy free sundae is one giant sundae spoon! I don’t know why eating ice cream with the sundae spoon makes it feel more fun but it does.

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The non dairy ice cream is available at Waitrose and is £4.99 per tub.

I was sent the ice cream to try. All opinions are my own.

Christmas Cranberry Cheesecake using Quark

These are seriously incredible and served in little pots makes them a delightful Christmas and winter pudding!

I give you my Christmas cranberry mini cheesecakes.

Sew White Quark Christmas Cranberry Cheesecake recipe 1

I love the decorated food boxes (from IKEA) for a dinner party and I think the glass cups really shows off how cute they are for a family pudding. I love looking at the cranberry mulled wine topping sink slightly into the creamy goodness. I love looking at the layers. Making small portions is also really cute and stops those like me eating a lot!

Sew White Quark Christmas Cranberry Cheesecake recipe 2

Makes about 6-8 mini cheesecakes in small glass cups. Double the recipe for a large 8inch cheesecake. I think mini cheesecakes work so much better.

Ingredients

Cranberry sauce
– 200ml mulled wine
– 400g fresh cranberries
– 4 tablespoons of sugar
– half a teaspoon of cinnamon
– half a teaspoon of mixed spice

Cheesecake part
- 50g unsalted butter

– 200g shortbread biscuits
– 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
– 250g Quark vanilla (if using plain Quark add a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
– 60g caster sugar
– zest and juice of 1 lemon (save a bit of zest to decorate with)
– 150ml of double cream
- (optional) Mint leaves to garnish if you accidentally add all the zest earlier on

Method

- To make the mulled wine cranberry part put the cranberries, mulled wine, sugar, cinnamon and mixed spice in a pan and soften gently on a low-medium heat. Taste a little and if you want it sweeter add a bit more sugar. I like leaving it slightly sharp to go with the sweet cheesecake. Once the cranberries are all mushy but while some are still holding their shape take off the heat and allow to cool.

– Melt the butter gently and take off the heat.
– Crush the shortbread biscuits. I put the shortbread in a plastic bag and bashed it with a rolling pin. 
– Put the biscuit crumbs in a bowl with the ground ginger and add the melted butter and stir all the biscuits are coated in the butter. You can add a little freshly grated ginger too if you want to boost the ginger flavour.
– Put two tablespoon or three in each of the of the cases or glasses to make a good layer and push down. Put in the fridge for 20-30minutes
– In a bowl cream together the Quark cream cheese and caster sugar until the sugar is mixed in.
– Grate the lemon to get the zest, save some for decoration and add the rest, then squeeze the juice in to the cream cheese mixture with the zest.
– Mix in well.
– Lightly whip the double cream by hand until it starts to thicken and then add it to the cream cheese and lemon mixture. Stir in well.
– Take the bases out of the fridge and spoon the cream cheese mixture on top leveling it out.
– Put the cheesecakes back in the fridge and leave for at least 1 hour until the cheese part has set.
– When you are ready to serve top the cheesecake with a tablespoon of cranberry mix and enjoy!

If you want it to try something more luxurious reheat the cranberries until they are warm and serve over the cheesecakes straight away. The heat will melt everything a little so don’t add it all if you want to save some for later.

Sew White Quark Christmas Cranberry Cheesecake recipe 3

The lovely Lake District Dairy Company sent me a gorgeous bag with Quark in it and a Christmas apron!

I loved the cheesecakes and they taste amazing the day after you made them too. If you manage to keep any that long! I love that the colour from the cranberries had started to colour the quark and cream. The little bits of lemon zest are very cute too.

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 Delicious!

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I was sent the Quark to use but all recipes and photographs are my own creation.

Hartley’s Jelly – setting fruit in jelly attempt 1

I put my hands up now and admit that I am not good at doing anything with jelly. Give me bread or cakes but jelly and me aren’t friends. I love eating it but trying to make it at home usually means it doesn’t set or look good. So thanks to Hartley’s I am getting my jelly practicing apron on trying to not just make jelly that sets but trying to set fruit in it.

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Jelly kitchen workshop means a very messy kitchen. It smelled good though.

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I really wanted to make striped jelly as I could never make it when I was little (yes I have childhood jelly trauma phobia what ever you want to call it). I started with a layer of strawberry jelly and used three quarters of the jelly in the bowl which I put in the fridge. After an hour it started to set  and I took it out of the fridge and placed the satsuma pieces on top so the jelly was still very tacky and the fruit stuck to it.

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When the satsumas were placed in a pretty pattern I used the last little bit of the jelly to cover them half way up to hold them in place while the jelly set.

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When the jelly holding the fruit had set I added another layer of raspberry jelly and popped it in the fridge overnight.

I topped of the jelly layers with more satsumas and a white chocolate star. I thought the strawberry and raspberry would be slightly different colours so there would be more of a difference in layers but for the first time I have set jelly which tastes incredible.

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I’m going to try again with the layers but for a first ever set jelly I’m very happy.

Thank you Hartley’s jam!