The Clean Plate – Rayleigh Review

Eating Out

I've recently decided to create a 'Free from' directory for myself when needing to find a suitable place to eat out.

I'm slowly building a list of places, which of course means I have lots of new places to try out!

One of these was incredibly local to myself, and I wish I had found it sooner.

'The clean plate' is a completely gluten free cafe.
Not only are they completely gluten free, but they also cater strongly for vegans.
This of course means not only do I not have to study the menu for gluten free items. But I know there's options that will also be dairy free (no dairy from cows for me)

The cafe is not far from Rayleigh station and is easy to find. There is no parking at the cafe, but lots of side streets to park in. So parking was not an issue.

Clean plate is not a huge place, and I've been told it can fill up quite quickly. However we were lucky and picked a relatively quiet time to go.
With a choice of tables, either inside or out.

First decision needed, was of course a drink….. I opted for a vegan milkshake.

The vegan option (aka dairy free) only came in chocolate. However I was given a choice of milks, and rather than going for the standard 'soya'.
I chose my home favourite of cashew milk.

Then of course came the difficult decision of finding something to eat.
When you're used to being given a couple of items to choose from, an entire menu is a bit overwhelming.

There is the standard page and then a page for vegan alternatives of the same.

It was a difficult toss up between pizza or pancakes.
But as pancakes is not an option I've found anywhere else, I opted for that.

I was able to choose the vegan pancakes so that they'd be dairy free, but with the standard menu sides toppings…. 'bacon and maple syrup'

The food was creatively presented, and delicious. The vegan pancakes had a slight hint of banana to them (which I'm assuming is because they're made with them as a dairy alternative) but were tasty and went well with the bacon and syrup.

I also had garlic bread, however ate this before I could take a picture of it (it was delicious though)

Not only did I have so much choice for a mains, but I then found they did raw vegan cakes.
Which of course I had to try.

Looking at the menu they also offer sandwiches etc to take away. Which would be perfect if you needed to grab a lunch en-route somewhere.

Having an entirely gluten free cafe, so close to me is probably not good news for my bank account or waistline. However I can't begin to express how great it feels to not have to worry about explaining my coeliacs.
With the dairy being my only worry, and the cafe catering so well for vegans I can eat most of what's on offer.

I will be going back…..regularly!

Review: Tesco Free From Blackcurrant Cheese Cakes

Free From Products


Cheesecake, probably one of my most missed desserts as a coeliac and dairy intolerance. 

There were a number of frozen cheesecakes that were gluten and dairy free, that I fell in love with. However can no longer find any of these. Tesco have recently introduced their own branded frozen version, however this is unfortunately not free from dairy.

Due to this, it has been a while since I’ve had a cheesecake fix. Therefor I was of course extremely excited when I came across these chilled cheesecakes in the refrigerated free from section.


I’ll admit to being a little apprehensive once I’d got them home. I’m not entirely sure how a cheesecake can be made with oil and coconut milk. 

Packaging wise, there is two in a pack. The cheesecakes themselves come in two little plastic pots with film lids. 

There isn’t a great deal of dessert in each pot, and so these aren’t particularly great value for money.


The ‘cheesecake’ is a layer of a syrup’y tasting jam, which wasn’t particularly great tasting. The next layer was the strange tasting ‘cheesecake’ part. 

This pretty much tasted like coconut oil, but was still better tasting than the jam like syrup layer.

At the bottom of it all was the biscuit base. Nothing particularly amazing here, just a thin layer of crumbs.

Overall, I was rather disappointed. Yes it’s a vegan cheesecake that suitable for coeliacs and those who can’t eat dairy or eggs. However, it’s not cheap and it’s not a cheesecake.

I’m sorry Tesco but these were a disappointment. I will not be trying them again!

Review: Schar Salti crackers

Free From Products

I used to really enjoy Ritz biscuits prior to my diagnosis.

Schar have kindly introduced a gluten free version!! 

These are an amazing salty type cracker, absolutely perfect with non cow dairy cheese alternatives (I love soft goats cheese) or Sainsbury’s new new dairy free cranberry Wensleydale. 

The packet is fairly large, unfortunately easy to tear. So might be worth chucking them into a tub. 

Not a great deal to write about these, but they are brilliant for a quick snack by themselves or with a topping.

I’ve purchased them from Kaisers in Berlin and large Tescos here in the U.K

Valsoia Cherry & Cream Soya Ice Cream

Free From Products

For those of you who have read through my previous reviews, I recently reviewed a Chocolate & Cream ice cream made by Valsoia. 

After the utterly moreish experience with the chocolate & cream flavour, I didn’t hesitate on trying others.

Ocado have a variety of Valsoia products, these are focused on being dairy free. However a few of these items are also gluten free. Just be sure to check before tucking in, as things like the Ice cream sandwiches, or pizza will not be suitable for coeliacs (much to my disappointment)

My latest order from Ocado contained the Valsoia Cherry & Cream dairy free ice cream.


I knew what to expect, having eaten the other flavour on offer. But I was still excited to get the lid off of this delight!

On a boring note, the tub is much easier to access than others without risking broken nails. You simply push the tab down, then just lift it up.

Once the lid is off, you are greeted with a delicious looking ice cream.


Much like the Chocolate version, the ice cream was extremely soft, smooth and light. The cherry is not overly sweet, tasting like real cherries (as opposed to flavourings) and adds an excellent contrast to the ice cream.

It was too easy to eat a very large amount of this, and seeing as the tub is not on the extra large size…. I will have to ration myself! 

I am so happy to find a delicious flavoured dairy free ice cream, that also tastes amazing!!!

Alpro Cashew Original

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Coeliacs disease is bad enough but add an intolerance to cows milk, it’s even worse.

I have really tried with soya milk, and other alternatives. But they just aren’t the same, and whilst they work in tea’s etc. Cereal just isn’t great with soya milk.

I decided to give cashew milk a try. The first thing I tried it in, was a hot chocolate.

My first try of it, I found it a bit unusual and wasn’t so sure, as it added a slightly nutty taste to the drink. However I’ve since fallen in love with it. 

It tastes amazing in hot chocolate, giving a thick, creamy hot chocolate that tastes delicious. 

Since then I’ve started having it with muesli, which it goes with brilliantly. It’s thick and creamy enough to mean you don’t just have a bowl full of watery nuttiness. It’s taste is not overpowering, but gives a subtle flavour that works well with what it is put with.

I’m still not sold on other alternatives. But Alpro’s Cashew milk is a fantastic solution.

Valsoia Chocolate & Cream Soya Ice Cream

Free From Products

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This year has been a good year for companies bringing out new free from ice creams.

I’ve┬ádefinitely eaten far too much of it this Summer. Unfortunately for my waist size I have just come across this make on Ocado.

There were a couple of different flavours, but I opted for the chocolate and cream.

Inside were two halves. One side chocolate and one side the ‘cream’. I was expecting a tough ice cream so shoved my spoon in with some force, to be pleasantly surprised that it’s creamy texture scooped up easily.

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My bowl of ice cream unfortunately lasted a very short amount of time. It was so deliciously soft and creamy. It was gone in seconds.

The chocolate flavour had small bits in it, which gave it an interesting texture. The ‘cream’ flavour reminded me a little of getting Mr Whippy ice creams when I was a child.

A fantastic dairy (and gluten) free ice cream. Completely different to any other options available.

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