May, 2012

May 12

Freefrom ready meals from Tesco

Tesco have become the first supermarket in the UK to produce an own-brand range of chilled free from ready meals, which will be available from selected stores from 21st May.

Chilled ready meals is definitely an under catered for area in freefrom food, and Tesco told me that this is something that customers have been asking for.

Sticking to the classics, Tesco have produced ready meals in individual portions, which can be reheated in the oven or microwave depending on the dish. The gluten free pastas are sourced from Italy and the beef from ‘within the British Isles’.

Tony and I tried the ready meals together. I never buy ready meals, but Tony finds them very useful for a weeknight option, not being a keen cook and needing something quick to have on the table after the gym. Following a gluten free regime does mean he is limited as to what he can buy on the ready meal front, so not having to ready the ingredients list in full when shopping is a big plus from his point of view.

Tesco sent us three dishes to try at home. Here’s what we thought.

First, we tried the spaghetti bolognaise. This meal was microwaveable and was very quick to heat up. The spaghetti was thinner than standard spaghetti, but was absolutely delicious. The pasta was just lightly al dente when reheated. We were very impressed by the bologniase sauce. Rich and flavourful, it tasted homemade, as though it had been slow cooked which we like. We both agreed that this  was just an excellent meal in its own, let alone for a ready meal.

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Next, we tried the lasagne. This one was an oven bake only, which took about 30 minutes to bake. Easy, but requires a bit of forethought. I have had lasagne ready meals before, which I haven’t particularly enjoyed being a firm believer that homemade is definitely best when it comes to lasagne, but I was keen to try this. We found the pasta and sauce quite sloppy and wet, with the bolognaise not as tasty as the spaghetti bolognaise was. I would put it on a par with a standard lasagne ready meal, which is not a bad thing at all.


Finally, we tried the chicken and bacon pasta bake. This was very tasty, and would be enjoyed by children we reckon. It contained a springing of peas to up the vegetable count, too. The gluten free cheese sauce is pleasant and quite well flavoured. A great option for a quick weekday meal that all the family will enjoy.

Tesco Free From Chicken & Bacon Pasta

All in all, these meals are a very welcome addition to the freefrom offering at Tesco, with the spaghetti bolognaise being by far the standout dish for us.

Here is the full range Tesco are offering:

Tesco Free From Beef Lasagne 420g                                    £2.50    Tesco Free From Three Cheese Fusili 380g                             £2.50    Tesco Free From Spaghetti Bolognese 400g                             £2.50    Tesco Free From Chicken & Bacon Pasta Bake 400g                      £2.50    Tesco Free From Beef Casserole & Dumplings 400g                      £2.50    * The above lines will be £2 each from 21st May - 5th June
 Thank you to Tesco for sending me these products to try.

May 12

Lovely Leon

If you are looking for some interesting freefrom recipes to cook from, but want some ideas that you know WILL work, look no further than the Leon cookery books.

I have been a huge fan of the Leon chain of restaurants for years, which are sadly currently only London-based.  If you don’t head to London much (sadly I don’t live in London any more either), fear not – the cookery books, of which there are now three, show you how to recreate some of their most popular dishes at home. I was delighted to introduce my friends over at Good Food, Great Fun and Gluten Free to Leon when we met in London not so long ago. You can read their thoughts on the Leon experience here.

Aside from how much I like eating at Leon, I really cannot emphasise enough just how much I like their cookery books. First of all, all of their recipes are easy to make at home. I have cooked extensively out of all three books, and all the recipes I have tried have worked very well. So no let downs there. But what is even more appealing about their food is their ethos. Leon was founded by John Vincent, Henry Dimbleby and Allegra McEvedy (who very, very sadly in my opinion, does not work for Leon any more) in order to produce great quality, nutritious food to eat on the go that “does you good”. All three books are packed full of recipes that are just naturally free-from and furthermore their baking book which was published in September 2011 entitles Leon: Baking and Puddings. Book 3, contains recipes for bread, cakes and ice cream – all of which are gluten, dairy and sugar free. All three books contain pages and pages of information and photos of more unusual ingredients, so make for a really informative read, too.

Recipe highlights for me are as follows:

Leon Book 1: Ingredients and Recipes

Leon Granola, the Superfood Salad recipes, the slaw recipes, Moroccan meatballs and the recipe for the Leon better brownie

Leon Book 2: Naturally Fast Food

 Lots of lovely sides to jazz up vegetables, Keralan fish curry, Ceviche, Muesli bars

Leon Book 3: Baking and Puddings

Strawberry marshmallows, Gluten free bread and rye bread recipes which are lovely, A good chocolate cake (vegan and can be made gluten free) and Coconut Kiss ice cream, which is dairy free and raw

Disclosure: These opinions are my own. I bought books 1 & 2 myself and received book 3 as a review copy. Thanks to Conran Octopus for this copy.



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