Sunday, 21 April 2019

Slightly Different Foods

Slightly Different Foods came into existence, after founder Sonia was diagnosed with IBS and found supermarkets were lacking in suitable foods.   Sonia started creating sauces in her kitchen at home and developed a range of suitable stir in sauces and the rest as they say is history

Slightly Different Foods achieved FODMAP Friendly accreditation and are registered with The Vegetarian Society Vegan logo, giving reassurance to customers.   The sauces are made using fresh ingredients, without artificial preservatives, colours or flavourings and you can tell.

I was sent their range of sauces to try and opened the medium chilli sauce first and my initial thoughts were how homemade like it was, not thick and gloopy like some ready made sauces, with a  fantastic aroma.

I made borlotti bean and mushroom chilli, with spicy rice and peas and it was scrumptious, with a good kick of chilli for spice lovers like me and fabulous flavours.

I made almond feta, pea and broccoli cannelloni next and the bolognese sauce was a perfect topping, as I opened the jar I was hit by a big burst of tomato, it made the dish and was scrumptious.

Next up were tandoori cauliflower wings, using the red pepper and chill sauce, another big hitter on the chilli front and I like that Sonia is bold with the heat, I could not fault it.

Slightly Different Foods changed packaging and added more flavours since my product review above and kindly sent me a selection of the new flavours to try.   I have to say the labelling is a big improvement, with vibrant jazzy colours, which makes them really stand out amongst their competitors.

I tried the arrabbiata first making a simple dish with spaghetti, chickpeas and vegetables and I was impressed as expected with the textures, flavours and spice.

The tomato and basil sauce was perfect as a base for a pizza and worked brilliantly with vegan meatballs as a meat free version of spaghetti polpette.

I tried the sweet and sour sauce next, with some hesitation, as most are far too sweet and gloopy, but not this one.   I made a vegetable stir fry with Burmese tofu and the sweet and sour was excellent, much fresher tasting than the usual off the shelf products.

The sweet chilli sauce is fantastic too, lovely fresh taste, with a good whack of chilli and packed with flavour in a vegetable stir fry with rice noodles.

Slightly Different Foods may have been developed for those with IBS, suffering digestive problems or following a FODMAP diet, but they are for everyone.   I thought the sauces would lack depth, be weak and thin and yet the opposite was true, they all packed a punch with great fresh flavours.   Highly recommended.

Disclaimer:  I received free samples of this product and have not been paid for this review and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

The Swan Inn Main Street Carleton 3rd April 2019

The Swan Inn reopened after a major refurbishment just over two weeks ago and I saw on Facebook that they now offered a vegan menu, so just had to visit.

The place is lovely inside, warm and welcoming and spacious, with plenty seating areas, a dining room and a big bar.

The menu has a great selection of vegan dishes, including starters, main courses, with soya milk and soya cream available too.

We chose beetroot falafels with tahini sauce and salad to share, as it was only lunchtime and it was a great choice.

The falafels were delicious, with a lovely texture, not stodgy like some I have had and the tahini sauce was a perfect match and brought the whole dish together, we loved our starter.

Our choices for main course were lentil and seed burger for Steven and sweet potato, pumpkin seed and chestnut roast for me.

Our main courses were as good as the starter, well cooked, seasoned and scrumptious, Steven loved the burger and the roast was moist with a great texture, not dry or heavy, so we left clean plates.   I hate being over faced, so portion control for me was spot on.   My only comment would be the roast needs vegetables and gravy instead of salad and cranberry sauce and mentioned it to Restaurant Manager Jane, who welcomed the feedback.

There was cherry and chocolate cheesecake and Northern Bloc chocolate and orange blossom ice cream for dessert but we were rather full, so finished with a coffee.

I think the menu at The Swan is fabulous and I love they have embraced demand for vegan dishes, which are proving popular, so I will definitely be returning very soon.   Highly recommended.