Posted by glutenfr | Posted in GFCF, New products, treats | Posted on 21-03-2011
Tags: convenience food, GFCF, treats
‘Tis a fact of life that many of we gluten sensitive types must also avoid dairy—and so it is in my family. So although we may call ourselves a gluten free family, we are in fact a gluten-free casein-free (or GFCF) family.
So it was with great interest that I agreed to review some pre-mix dairy free icecream this week.
While we rub along fairly comfortably without dairy, it does mean that a whole genus of yummy things made from milk—like icecream, yoghurt, milk shakes and pizza—are out of bounds for my fussy, little food intolerant boy.
SOY’S OFF THE MENU
For a while we dabbled with soy as replacements for these. We tried soy-based icecream (So Good) and soy cheese (Cheezly) but we soon discovered it had the same effect as milk, just in a milder way.
So we substituted with things like sorbet icecream and cheese-free pizza (aka cardboard) for a while, but they just didn’t cut it taste-wise, so we have been making do without.
We do without milk quite easily at a nutritional level. We use a commerical whey powder mixture to make protein shakes that can stand in for yoghurt type snacks, and for the important issue of growing bones we use calcium supplements in our rice milk.
PEER GROUP PIKE-OUT
It all comes unstuck, however, when kids around him start slurping on milk shakes, yoghurt pots, pizza slices and icecreams. On these occasions we have been known to cave . . . “Oh alright, just this once, a little bit won’t hurt”. . . and then there is a price to pay later.
So when Kris from internet retailer Allergy Friendly Foods offered me the chance to try out one of the brands of dairy free icecream that she stocks, I was all ears.
Kris imports a whole range of products that you can’t normally buy here that are gluten, dairy, soy, nut, egg & fish free. She first began testing these products when her son began a special diet 6 years ago, after discovering there was very little here for people with multiple allergies.
ICE CREAM AT LAST
She sent me the chocolate flavour of Miss Roben’s mix from the Allergy Grocer. You don’t need an icecream maker to make it. It is based on Vance’s DariFree Potato Based Milk Substitute, plus other allergy-free ingredients. (The vanilla version, which we didn’t try, is pretty similar but without the cocoa.)
(As well as the icecream, she also popped in some other Enjoy Life allergy-friendly goodies like oat-free oatmeal cookies and food bars—without sulphites—that I haven’t spotted in the shops. I rather enjoyed these and we also got some organic sweets. You can imagine who ate those.)
I have to say the icecream was a breeze to make. I only had to add 2 cups of carbonated water and 2 tablespoons of oil, mix it in a blender and then put it in a tub to freeze. A few hours later we gave it a taste.
The main difference between the chocolate variety and something you get in the shops is that it was firmer and sweeter (possibly because it is a US brand?). But it had the right icreamy texture and flavour and I just left it out a little longer to soften it up a bit so I could scoop it into a cone.
Importantly, I had no complaints at all from little Mr Fussypants – who devoured the whole thing with no comment whatsoever about the sugar content.
VANILLA IS NEXT
Because I cannot get anything like this in the supermarkets, I will most certainly be buying more, but I will probably give the vanilla a go next time, as that is his favourite flavour.
It has also inspired me to attempt to make my own at home, so if anyone has any ideas about how to make yummy icecream out of rice milk then I would be very interested to hear about it!
CHEESE SUBSTITUTE ANYONE?
I am also on the hunt for a cheese substitute. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just something that will act in a cheesy way on top of a pizza that does not contain soy or dairy. Has anyone experimented with this?
They are certainly having a good go in the US—where I can only imagine the effect of allergies and the rise of interest in vegan lifestyles has pushed the food scientists into a buzz of creativity.
The Daiya brand of non-dairy products is getting a lot of coverage in the US with its grated non-soy cheese substitute, and I am all aflutter about the thought of putting pizza back on the menu.
I was so excited that I immediately got in touch with the manufacturers to beg them to send me some of their very cheesy-looking cheese shreds.
However they politely declined, explaining that at they were currently focused on the launch of Daiya products in USA and Canada and did not yet have a timeline for international expansion.
So while we have icecream licked, we must wait a little longer for our pizza it seems.
[UPDATE: Kris says she will have a dairy substitute topping mix in store soon. It isn't the Daiya shredded variety - but have potential as a topping in cooking - I will report on it here once I have tried it.]