Strawberry dairy free milkshakes

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Milkshakes are one of those things that I love as a treat.

I’ve always felt that there are two types of milkshake, the thick ice cream type and then of course the runny milky type. Either way, I love them…. and just can’t get enough.

As is in their name milkshakes unfortunately consist of a lot of dairy!

This poses a problem to those of us who are dairy intolerant, or choose not to eat/drink dairy.

Luckily for us, a few companies have produced options to keep us covered. Now I have found there’s more ranges/brands producing dairy free chocolate milk. Dairy free strawberry alternatives are a little harder to come by, but I much prefer this or banana to chocolate.

Ocado had two choices on offer in small carton sizes:

Koko

A dairy free alternative made from coconut milk. These are a long life, carton sized option which come in a pack of three.

At £1.49 it is the more expensive of the two, but not by a huge amount. Coming in three flavours which consist of strawberry, chocolate or original.

The cartons are tall, but thin which meant that they took up less room in the fridge or bag when taking to work.

Handily it is UHT so not necessary to keep in the fridge, however personally I think it really does need to be chilled before drinking.

The straw that comes with it is a collapsible type one, this can be a bit of a nuisance when drinking if the straw is a bit dodgy. As I had one carton where the straw just kept folding up whilst I tried to drink.

As for the taste, the strawberry taste is subtle. It’s refreshing and light and not too sweet for early in the morning.

However once swallowed I find it has a bizarre after taste, it definitely is not of coconuts. So I cannot work out what it is, but that’s then all I could taste.

Unfortunately this strange after taste put me off of them, and I found I was disliking the drinks more each time I had them purely for that reason.

These might be enjoyable for some, but definitely not me and will not be purchased again.

Alpro

Next up was Alpro’s long life strawberry milk. Again, this comes in a pack of three with the two flavour alternatives of chocolate or strawberry. At the price of £1.35 from Ocado it is the cheaper of the two.

The Alpro cartons are pretty sturdy and I’ve taken them around in my work bag etc with no concerns over them breaking.

Again this drink is long life, so does not require being kept chilled. However to enjoy it best, it should definitely be cold before drinking.

On first impressions the Alpro strawberry milk is much sweeter, it was also thicker with a lot more flavour to it.

The main noticeable thing about this one compared to the KOKO alternative is that there is no horrid aftertaste. The sweet strawberry taste remains the same, and is nice and refreshing.

This drink will likely be the preferred choice for children, and it is definitely the preferred choice for myself.

I’ve continued buying this, and will continue to do so.

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Review: The Canvas Cafe – London

Eating Out

I started following The Canvas Cafe on Instagram after somebody shared some photos on their own Instagram.

The regular photos they shared of their vegan freakshakes just couldn’t be ignored.

On a recent trip to London I had to visit, luckily it’s a short walking distance from London Liverpool Street.

Once in there I asked for gluten/dairy free, they advised they had no cakes etc available but that their vegan milkshakes (aka freakshakes) were.

I believe these were about £8, with a choice of flavours. I opted for blueberry.

The drink turned up in a very large glass, covered in vegan whipped cream, blueberries, chocolate and a chocolate brownie.

Initial taste of the cream and chocolate was a light tasting cream, and a good dairy free chocolate. The brownie was soft and rich.

What I quickly learnt was that this drink is filling. You get a very large amount and

as I struggled through I found more brownie at the bottom of the glass. I just could not finish the drink, no matter how hard I tried.

I can’t wait to head back and try an alternative flavour, however I will be sharing the drink next time.

The drink was delicious, and such an experience. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to have a milkshake like this that was suitable for me.

Review: Solo Chocolate Salted Caramel Meal Replacement

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I’m terrible for skipping meals out, as long as I’ve had cereal in the morning I’m content.

This is not healthy, and with the long shifts I work means I’m often going long periods without any food or just surviving on rubbish.

I came across Huel (which I will review shortly) and Solo shortly after.

Both options are meal replacements giving you the vitamins, fibre etc that you need in a quick and easy alternative.

Both are vegan and gluten free, although Huel also comes in a non gluten free version (so be aware)

Solo do single meal packs for £2, for you to try. This is a good way to see if you’ll like the flavour. I ordered a couple of flavours and the first one I tried was the chocolate salted caramel.

Now having played around with Huel I’ve learnt that I cannot stand these drinks when made up with water. So I make them up with soya milk or a nut milk.

This one I had Tesco’s own brand soya milk to hand.

The powder itself appears finer than Huel with less ‘bits’ in it.

However when trying to mix it up in a shaker it did not blend well. There were huge lumps throughout the mix no matter how much I shook it up.

I tried drinking this as had not brought any food in with me, to work. However with the flavour and the fact that it just would not lose the large amount of lumps left me feeling slightly ill.

I will give the Solo vanilla mix a go at some point soon. But so far I am sticking with Huel.

Review: Slim Pasta Spaghetti

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I’ve been terrible lately with getting posts up, life has just been so busy!

Recently I’ve decided to attempt to broaden my diet and eat slightly more healthy options than mainly living off cereal and bacon sandwiches.

Whilst shopping on Ocado I was looking for things that are quick, and easy to cook when I’m coming off a long shift.

I came across this ‘pasta’

Now there were a few different options including noodles etc. However I went for this one as it required no draining. Just chuck it in a frying pan with some sauce and cook for a couple of minutes.

The shelf life is quite decent on it, so it’s a good thing to just keep in the cupboard for a very quick meal.

I’ve had it twice now, the first time I cooked it with some red free from pesto and dried bacon pieces with sprinkling of feta.

This time I tried it with just some green pesto and some sheep cheese that needed eating up.

Whilst the image is not particularly appetising.

It isn’t a bad meal, I much preferred the first combination as without the meat I think the pasta was quite flavourless.

I’d be interested to try this pasta with a more meaty sauce.

I’m not sure how well the pasta works at helping you to lose weight, but it is super quick and easy to cook. Stores well, and is gluten free and suitable for vegans (no cows milk, yay!)

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

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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

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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