The Black Farmer: Trial by Teenager

You already know we like the Black Farmer products; I’ve talked about them before. They’ve developed some new products, and sent some for us to review.

I assembled my expert team of five teenage meat-eaters (actually, it was a study evening at our house) and tried out the new products on them.

I didn’t describe or name the products at all—I knew that the mention of apple would put at least one of them off—I just asked for comments:

  • Black Farmer Beef Burgers

    “no gross strangly bits or wet stuff”

    You can tell this was a group of teenage testers, can’t you? Normally I buy supermarket brand 100% beef burgers, and hadn’t realised they were a bit gristly, because I don’t eat meat myself. I’m obviously going to have to switch, as these cooked nicely without producing any water or fatty bits…

  • Black Farmer’s Daughter Pork Meatballs; Black Farmer’s Daughter Beef Meatballs

    “it’s all good”

    The beef were slightly preferred (3:2), as the pork ones were apparently a little ‘sausagey’ for some, and the beef ones were slightly chewier and spicier (though not at all hot). One teenager commented on the “gritty bits”… which turned out to be herb stalks! Honestly, teenagers…

  • Black Farmer Pork and Apple Burgers

    “they were great, can we get them again?”

    What can I add to that? I love positive feedback on a meal, almost as much as I like help with the washing-up afterwards.

So will I source these myself, given the responses?

I think it will be worth the effort, and it will be extra trouble, because they are only currently available at Ocado. However, they are on promotion at the moment […]

  • lemon-poppy-seed
    Missing the Muffins Missing the Muffins

    Missing the Muffins

Missing the Muffins

Back in November, I was invited up to Newcastle by Warburtons to visit their gluten free bakery. We were also given the opportunity to taste their newest products: muffins.

These were still secret at that time, so I couldn’t tell you about them, but we were delighted by them at the tasting; they have now been launched onto what should be a grateful gluten-free market.

I couldn’t go to the launch event at the end of January, but they kindly sent me a sample of the blueberry and cranberry muffins as a reminder. They’re just as good now as they were then. I especially love the lemon and poppy seed ones, but they are quite grown-up and lemony, so your gluten free child might prefer the blueberry ones. There’s also a fruit loaf, which is good hot and buttery, but I’m a big fan of the muffins.

These are little loaf-shaped cakes. I usually think that muffins are too large and dry, but these are fab: moist, with a good quantity of ‘bits’ to cake. Not too large, and delicious.

I know there are plenty of gluten free cake offerings on the market, but these are special, and I’d love them to ‘take’, and be a success. They could be offered to non-GF eaters, and they wouldn’t know… However, I haven’t spotted them anywhere in the wild yet, and I have looked.

Round here, there are a range of supermarkets: Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrisons, Co-Op and Aldi. Yet I haven’t seen these fab new products anywhere. I’ve looked on the Warburtons stockist locator, and despite there being plenty of places apparently stocking the bread products—including the community shop […]

Allergy Alert: Virani Gram Flour

Another one! Is this the gluten free oats scenario all over again?

Tests have found levels of gluten above the limits for foods labelled gluten free in Virani Gram Flour. This is the 2kg pack size, with a best before date of July 2013 (batch code BBE July 2013 010).

Perhaps Natco and Virani have the same supplier for gram flour?

Whatever the cause, the levels of gluten mean that this product can no longer be labelled gluten free. Do bear in mind that the labelling laws have recently changed, and that the ingredient of gram flour is naturally gluten free.

Compare and Contrast: Gluten Free Food

Being part of the judging panel for a couple of categories in the Free From Food Awards 2012 has been a delight…

Michelle (Foodsmatter) has brought together a wide range of expertise and interests: allergy bloggers, chefs, nutritionists, product development experts, food writers and foodies, journalists, and more. And it was fascinating to see the different perspectives on each product. Some people were concerned about the nutritional value; others about the taste; some about whether the product managed to serve multiple allergy-groups; others about whether it was innovative and moving the free from sector forward.

We tasted blind, which resulted in some surprises when the manufacturers were revealed. And tasting a wide range of different products in the same category at the same time isn’t something that you do regularly – unless, I suppose you work in product development, or get to participate in this kind of judging activity. Gluten free food is just too expensive to buy lots of different varieties at the same time! So that too was a surprising exercise (for me, at least).

And valuable: I came across some products which were new to me, which I shall definitely be buying for my daughter to try in the future. I can’t tell you which – or even which category – as we’ve been sworn to secrecy at least until the shortlist comes out in about ten days time. Check the Free From Food Awards site after 17th February to see who has been shortlisted – and I will let you know who are the eventual winners after the awards ceremony in April.

However, if you are part of a coeliac […]

Allergy Alert: Natco Foods Gram Flour

Ordinarily, of course, gram flour is gluten free. However, occasionally testing reveals that it has become contaminated with gluten in some way.

This seems to have happened in the case of Natco Gluten Free Gram Flour, in which in one batch, levels of gluten have been found that are above the limits for foods labelled gluten-free.

This is the 2kg pack, best before October 2012 (batch code: 110420 BN0509). No other Natco products are known to be affected.

If you’ve bought this product, don’t use it, and contact the company to find out how to return it.

More information on the Food Standards Agency site – and you can visit the Natco site. The 2kg pack is not available via that site today, but you should be able to find some contact details.

Don’t let this put you off gram flour, which is naturally gluten free, being made from ground chana dal (a kind of yellow split pea).