Alpro Calls Time on Dessert Envy!

At last, here is a suite of desserts worth shouting about!

If you’ve longed for something rich and creamy, these will hit the spot. Gone are the years of dessert envy. Now you too can luxuriate at dessert time by devouring these divine pots of glorious creaminess, tempered with tangy fruit compote. Allow me to introduce the simply glorious Go On range from Alpro.

I have never, ever found a dairy-free dessert to equal these. They are desserts to hide at the back of the fridge so that no-one else can find them: if you leave them at the front, the dairy-eating members of the family will steal them, they’re that good! The texture is superb: smooth, thick and rich. The addition of the fruit compote which hides below is an inspired touch as the combination is simply divine.

Here they are

Alpro Go On Blackcurrant   Alpro Go On <br/>Mango   Alpro Go On<br/> Passion fruit

Blackcurrant                          Mango                              Passionfruit

 

I still can’t decide which one I like best! The Mango is the sweetest, the Blackcurrant is the tangiest and the Passionfruit is crunchy thanks to the seeds in the compote….so, which do I fancy today?

To explore the range of dairy-free desserts available, take a look at our review section.

I'm Back!

It’s been far too long since I’ve been able to keep the site updated on a regular basis, but I’m back and I’ve got a big pile of recipes and reviews to add to our collection. I shall be dusting off the cobwebs and pruning the out of date bits over the next weeks, as well as adding some long overdue pictures. I hope you enjoy the things I have for you!

Magic Lemon and Syrup Pudding

This is my latest variation on the Magic Chocolate Pudding. I felt like a change (yes, even I can occasionally want something that isn’t chocolate!) and this fitted the bill perfectly. It’s just as easy as the original, still cooks in next to no time and tastes delicious. This version is delicious served with homemade dairy-free custard or with a scoop of Swedish Glace Vanilla Ice Cream.

As before, you will need a mixing bowl, a glass bowl/dish (it has to be glass as it’s going in the microwave) and  a measuring jug. No scales, no whisks, nothing … dead simple.

Recipe: Magic Lemon and Syrup Pudding

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp self-raising flour
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp soya or almond milk
  • 3 tbsp flavourless oil eg sunflower/rapeseed
  • 4 tbsp Golden Syrup (at least, depends on how gooey you want it!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon

    Instructions

    1. Put the flour, and sugar in the bowl and stir thoroughly until they are evenly mixed.
    2. Stir through the lemon zest.
    3. Measure the milk into the jug, then add the oil and vanilla mix well with a fork.
    4. Add the egg to the jug and beat it all lightly with a fork until it is all blended.
    5. Just before you are about to mix the whole pudding, add the lemon juice to the jug and mix.
    6. Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the dry stuff and mix it all up with a large spoon.
    7. Pour it into the greased bowl/dish.
    8. Put the bowl in microwave and cook for 4 mins on 1000 watts (high).
    9. Allow it to cool for a minute or two before serving.

    Quick Notes

    This one doesn’t turn out! I serve it at the table so the guests get to see the gorgeous gooeyness of the syrup at the bottom of the pudding.

    I tend to mix the dry stuff and get the jug full of liquid ingredients ready early (minus the lemon juice as it will curdle the milk if left), then just throw them together and into the microwave as we start to eat the main course. That way, it’s cooled just enough to be eaten by the time we’re ready for it and the microwave is available for making custard.

    You will need to increase the cooking time by increments of 1 minute if your microwave is lower than 1000 watts. I found that an 800 watt microwave took 5½ mins.

    Preparation time (duration): 5 minutes

    Cooking time (duration): 4 minutes

    Diet type: Dairy-free

    Number of servings (yield): 6

    Meal type: dessert

    Microformatting by hRecipe.

Gluten Free Damson and Almond Traybake

Our favourite traybake recipe has taken a very successful leap into the gluten free realm. The texture remains good, the flavour is excellent and the recipe remains as easy as ever!

You will need a standard roasting tray (mine is about 13″/34cm x 11½”/29cm), a measuring jug, a large mixing bowl and an electric hand whisk.

The cooking technique for this is unconventional as the cake comes out of the oven part way through its cooking time, which is usually a no-no when baking. However, it is this part baking which ensures  that the jam goes part way into the cake and doesn’t all sink to the bottom. If you put the jam in at the start of the cooking time, it would sink through the batter and all end up in a sticky mass at the bottom. By giving the cake 10 minutes in the oven first, a slight skin forms on the batter which slows down the heavy jam and keeps it within the batter long enough for the cake to cook around it before it can all sink. Delicious!

Recipe: Gluten Free Damson and Almond Traybake

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C(160°C for fan ovens) /350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Line your roasting tin with baking parchment, tucking the corner pleats out of the way behind the sides so that you don’t have corners poking into your cake.
  3. Put the Pure, self-raising flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder, eggs, yoghurt, vanilla extract and almond extract into a large mixing bowl and beat the whole lot with an electric hand mixer until it is smooth.
  4. Pour it all into the lined tin and smooth out the surface with the back of a spoon.
  5. Pop it in the middle of the oven and bake it for 10 minutes. I know this next bit sounds really weird, but trust me: I’ve done it many times and it works!
  6. After 10 minutes, take it out of the oven and put the tin on something heatproof. I put it on my hob. Dot the surface all over with blobs of damson jam and then sprinkle the whole thing with the toasted almond flakes.
  7. Pop it all back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes until it is lovely and golden and puffy. You can do the skewer thing if you wish. I tend to use my finger tips and test the surface. If it is just firm and slightly springy, it’s done.
  8. Leave it in the tin for 5 minutes, then lift out the parchment lining, bringing the whole cake out onto a cooling rack. Leave until completely cool before dusting it with icing sugar and cutting it up.

    Quick Notes

    If you are transporting this cake, I would leave it uncut. I let it cool, then put it back into its tin to take it to its destination , then I dust it and chop it up when I get there. If you get a piece of cardboard just a little bit larger than your tin and cover it in foil, you can lift out your cake onto that and not have anybody’s heavy-handedness, scoring your roasting tin when the cake is cut up either!

    Variations

    You could do this like a traditional Bakewell combination with raspberry jam too.

    See our other variations: Chocolate Cherry; Autumn Traybake both of which can be adjusted by replacing the self-raising flour with Dove’s Farm Free From Gluten Self Raising Flour, increasing the ground almonds to 2oz and adding an extra egg.

    Preparation time (duration): 10 minutes

    Cooking time (duration): 30 minutes

    Diet type: Dairy-free

    Number of servings (yield): 20+

    Meal type: snack

    Microformatting by hRecipe.

New Improved Chocolate Cheesecake

I always try to make necessity into an opportunity and a new version of this recipe came about because I can’t get hold of the Cremovita whippable soya cream any more. My suppliers tell me it’s been withdrawn. How true this is, I don’t know, but the fact remains that I can’t get hold of it. So… here is the new ( and yes, I think it is also improved) version. It’s simpler than the old one, sets just as well and tastes extremely good. It’s also easier to get the essential velvety smooth texture which cheesecake just has to have. This remains simple enough to make in a tent as long as you have a small fridge.

For this recipe you will need: 2 bowls (at least 1 glass one for the bain marie); a rolling pin/empty bottle to crush biscuits (or you can use a food processor if you’re feeling sophisticated); a jug for the agar; a whisk (hand or electric as you wish); a 9″/23cm springform tin; a palette knife.

New Improved Chocolate Cheesecake

 An updated and improved version of an old favourite

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes Toffutti Better Than Cream Cheese
  • 1 box Alpro Dairy Free Custard
  • 3 tbsps icing sugar
  • 9oz/255g Kinnerton’s chocolate
  • 1 packet agar/gelatine powder
  • 14oz/400g Rich Tea biscuits
  • 5oz /145g Tomor
  • 2 ½tbsps cocoa powder

Method

  1. Melt the Tomor.
  2. Crush the biscuits to an even, fine sand-like consistency.
  3. Mix the two until your “sand” looks evenly damp and stir in the cocoa.
  4. Press into base of the the tin and chill until solid (at least two hours).
  5. Smash up the chocolate by bashing the UNOPENED packets against the edge of a table/worktop. (Mind your knuckles. Personal experience says it’s very easy to take your eye off what you’re doing and slam your knuckles into the worktop instead of just the chocolate. Not good.)
  6. Melt it in a bain marie, being very careful not to let the water boil or the bowl touch the water
  7. Beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy, then beat in the custard, followed by the icing sugar.
  8. Make up the gelatine/agar according to the instructions on the packet, then stir it into the melted chocolate, being careful to get it really smooth.
  9. Stir the chocolate mixture into the cream cheese mixture. Try to do this bit smoothly, but fairly swiftly as the gelatine/agar will start to set as it cools down.
  10. Pour all of the gorgeous chocolatey creaminess onto the base, smooth out the surface and then chill for at least four hours, but I usually leave it overnight.
  11. Lick out the bowl! (Optional, of course, but all the best chefs say you shouldn’t serve something you haven’t tasted.)
  12. When you want to serve the finished cheesecake, run a flexible palette knife CAREFULLY round the edge, right down to the base, then ease open the springform tin (while mentally offering up a prayer to the deity of your choice), and slide the ring up. Then comes the really fun bit. You now need to ease your palette knife under the base, wiggle it round sideways and encourage the cheesecake to slide off the base and onto a flat plate. Ta Daa!
  13. Decorate with chocolate squiggles, and/or curls, raspberries (superb, but only if being eaten immediately: raspberries go fluffy/soggy within 24hrs) or anything else your inventiveness can come up with.

Quick Notes

This makes a beautiful centrepiece for a dessert buffet

Preparation time: 10 mins plus chilling time for the base, 20 mins plus chilling time for the filling

Diet type: Dairy-free

Number of servings (yield): 12+

Copyright © Sian Mackey.
Recipe by Sian Mackey.

 

New Additions to the Alpro Family

It’s been a while since a new “yoghurt” appeared on the scene…and just like buses, now there are four. Alpro have brought us the new flavours and they’re all good!

Alpro Lemon & LimeAlpro Lemon and Lime

This one was the first new kid on the block…and for me it’s an absolute star. The zingy lemon and lime come through excellently and the texture is superb. For me, it compares favourably with the fabulous lemon curd real yoghurt which has been on the market for a while now. This one’s so good that I don’t put it on my muesli: I don’t want to mask any of its glory with other flavours. Just eat and enjoy. (Sometimes straight out of the pot!)

 

Alpro Strawberry with RhubarbAlpro Strawberry with Rhubarb

A good addition, put slightly in the shade by its showier lemon & lime cousin. The texture and flavour of this are both good, but the combination doesn’t quite have star quality. The “mouth feel” isn’t quite as stunning, possibly because both strawberries and rhubarb introduce more water into the mixture. There is also an inevitable slightly beige tinge to the yoghurt. I applaud Alpro’s courage in deciding not to add more colour. Don’t be put off by the beige, enjoy the lovely fruitiness of this new addition.

 

 Alpro Plain with AlmondAlpro Plain with Almond

I think this is lovely. The children call it marzipan yoghurt and they’re about right. The texture feels smoother and creamier in the mouth than the original Alpro Plain and the development scientists have finally got rid of the lingering aftertaste taste of soggy cardboard. (And about time too!)

 

Alpro Plain with CoconutAlpro Plain with Coconut

Last but by no means least, this has the richness and creaminess of coconut cream which gives the yoghurt a silky texture which has been  lacking in soya yoghurts until recently. Gone is the old grainy feel and strange backtaste: this is a very superior new arrival. I like this very much indeed.

For details of other “yoghurt-free yoghurts”, see our product review page.

Chocolate Cherry Delight

This is my favourite variation yet on the traybake recipe!

It started as just another experiment. It has become a new favourite and was devoured at the latest Parents’ Association cake sale. Of course, when you put chocolate and cherries together, you can’t go far wrong. This recipe has a delicious gooeyness which complements the flavours superbly. You can eat it when it’s only just cooled, while the chocolate is still only barely set and it’s almost a pudding. (Cherries still warm, molten chocolate to lick off your fingers, mmmm…) Or you can eat it when it’s completely cold and it’s equally delicious as a proper cake.

OK enough raving: here’s the recipe.

Recipe: Chocolate Cherry Traybake

Ingredients

  1. 9oz/250g Pure (sunflower)
  2. 8oz/220g self-raising flour
  3. 1oz/30g cocoa
  4. 1¼ oz/35g ground almonds
  5. 9oz/250g caster sugar
  6. ½tsp baking powder
  7. 4 eggs
  8. 5floz/140ml Alpro Vanilla Soya Yoghurt
  9. 1tsp vanilla extract
  10. 1tsp almond extract
  11. 4oz/115g chopped Kinnerton’s chocolate
  12. 4oz/115g chopped glace cherries
  13. 1oz/30g flaked almonds

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C(160°C for fan ovens) /350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Line a roasting tin with silicone baking paper, tucking the corner pleats out of the way behind the sides so that you don’t have corners poking into your cake.
  3. Toast the flaked almonds under the grill for about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on them: they go from pale to black and crispy in nothing flat!
  4. Put all the remaining ingredients apart from the chopped chocolate and cherries into a large mixing bowl and mix until smooth.
  5. Pour into the lined baking tray and smooth out the surface with the back of a spoon.
  6. Pop it into the middle of the oven and bake it for 10 minutes. I know this next bit sounds really weird, but trust me: I’ve done it many times and it works!
  7. Remove from the oven and put the tin on something heatproof. I put it on my hob. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate and cherries all over the top, then sprinkle the toasted almonds over everything.
  8. Return the tray to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes. You can do the skewer thing if you wish. I tend to use my finger tips and test the surface. If it is just firm and slightly springy, it’s done.
  9. Allow to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes then lift the bake out, using the paper round the edges, and let it cool on a rack.
  10. Leave to cool, then slice up into squares.

Quick Notes

This so delicious warmish, that it rarely lasts long enough to be completely cold in our house!

Variations

There are other variations of this recipe on the site. Explore and enjoy!!

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Diet type: Dairy-free

Number of servings (yield): 16-20 (depending on how generous you want your pieces to be!)

Culinary tradition: English

Copyright © Sian Mackey.
Recipe by Sian Mackey.

Where NOT to eat in Birmingham!

Well, it’s been months since I had a moment to update the site. (I was asked to do some supply work to help a local school in a spot of difficulty and I don’t need to tell anyone who’s ever taught how the job seems to expand into the time available!) Since then, we’ve been away and somehow or other it’s almost September and I’m going to be teaching again this term, though not as much as before.

In the meantime, we were in one of our favourite lunch spots today in the centre of Birmingham and I simply HAVE to make time to write. The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has been a family favourite for years and the Edwardian Tea Rooms have always served good quality dairy-free soup…not any more!! The glorious room has been given an unfortunate refurbishment which has left it skewered somewhere between Edwardian eclectic and New York loft. Yes, there’s a large gulf between those two and that’s how it feels.

The change of style and the anachronisms I could (just about) live with were it not for what has been done to the food. The prices have gone up. (What a surprise. Someone’s got to pay for the refurb.) Range and quality have gone down. Even worse, they now put dairy produce in BOTH soups on offer. “Only butter”, apparently, so those who were lactose intolerant as opposed to milk allergic took some lactase tablets and tried it. There were two choices: 1. Luke warm, rather boring butternut squash soup which must have had roasted garlic in it … judging by the number of bits of garlic skin which had to be fished out. 2. Luke warm tomato soup which had bits of stem for the diner to fish out … to prevent us being bored, no doubt. The soup was accompanied by undercooked, rather doughy ciabatta and served in such large, wide dishes that it’s not possible to fit two dishes of soup, two plates of bread and two glasses of water onto one tray. The plates are so large that it would have been a struggle even if the trays hadn’t also been re-styled and shrunk to below a practical size.

To top off our dining experience, the stunning chocolate muffins (sadly not dairy-free) which were a firm favourite with the kids, have been discontinued, so nobody was happy!!

What can I say? Don’t go there any more!

Lactofree Icecream in Waitrose

If you’re lactose intolerant, as opposed to casein allergic, this is fabulous stuff and it has finally returned to the Waitrose near me.  My kids love it and have been bitterly disappointed that I haven’t been able to get it for about a year. If you too love it, maybe your nearest Waitrose would be worth a try. It’s in the usual Lactofree yellow and white livery and tends to be kept with the Swedish Glace (which makes the whole family easy to supply!) At this point, I usually put a link to Lactofree’s website so that you can read all the product details from the manufacturer. However, I’ve just visited the Lactofree site, and (rather bizarrely) the icecream isn’t listed among their products. I’ll still give you a link here, but don’t be surprised when you can’t find the icecream anywhere!

For reviews of other dairy-free icecreams, see our reviews page.

Autumn Traybake

This is a variation on what has become one of our favourite recipes. The Damson and Almond traybake recipe just begs to be adapted and at this time of year, we’re enjoying both blackberry and apple versions. This is my latest apple one. The basics remain the same and, if you feel like it, you can make two different versions at once: half the mix without spice in one half-size tin with blackberries sprinkled over in place of  the damson jam from the original and in the other, the apple version below.

Autumn Traybake

Ingredients

  • 9oz/250g Pure (sunflower)
  • 9oz/250g self-raising flour
  • 1¼oz/30g ground almonds
  • 9oz/250g caster sugar
  • ½tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 5floz/150ml Alpro Vanilla Soya Yoghurt
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1oz/25g toasted flaked almonds
  • icing sugar to dust

 

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C(160°C for fan ovens) /350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Line your roasting tin with baking parchment, tucking the corner pleats out of the way behind the sides so that you don’t have corners poking into your cake.
  3. Put the Pure, self-raising flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder, eggs, yoghurt, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl and beat the whole lot with an electric hand mixer until it is smooth.
  4. Pour it all into the lined tin and smooth out the surface with the back of a spoon.
  5. Pop it in the middle of the oven and bake it for 10 minutes. I know this next bit sounds really weird, but trust me: I’ve done it many times and it works!
  6. After 10 minutes, take it out of the oven and put the tin on something heatproof. I put it on my hob. Dot the surface all over with chunks of apple and then sprinkle the whole thing with the toasted almond flakes.
  7. Pop it all back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes until it is lovely and golden and puffy. You can do the skewer thing if you wish. I tend to use my finger tips and test the surface. If it is just firm and slightly springy, it’s done.
  8. Leave it in the tin for 5 minutes, then lift out the parchment lining, bringing the whole cake out onto a cooling rack. Leave until completely cool before dusting it with icing sugar and cutting it up.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Diet type: Dairy-free

Number of servings (yield): 20+

Copyright © Sian Mackey.
Recipe by Sian Mackey.