Welcome to a new world of Free From food!
The freefrom market is a fascinating place for all of us needing it right now. I and many others have grown up needing certain dietary exclusions (in my case for my brother also) and watching as the market has changed to adapt to our needs. Thirty years ago there was little available for people with food allergies and intolerance and it certainly wasn't bought from the the supermarket or mainstream shops and restaurants. Today I hard a radio advert for Pizza Express include their gluten free range with their mainstream advert. This must be a positive move?
The next chapter has started to be written. This years Allergy and Free From Show has seen the launch of Ilumi. In their own words " to create delicious, colourful, deeply flavoursome foods that our customers can trust, to make them accessible and convenient, and to spread the word about eating for wellness to the wider community". All this and they are always free from nuts, milk and gluten.
My experience has been extremely positive. My parcel arrived in great condition and suitably impressive with fantastic packaging and an instantly recogniseable, colourful logo with fabulous pictures. The products inside were enticing, mouth watering and created a great deal of anticipation. They had also included a promotional leaflet for purchases in June and some free coriander to top my meals (a wonderful personal touch). The long shelf life and no need to refrigerate meant that I could pick and choose my dishes with ease in my own time. They would equally have stored in the cupboard for another week. Needless to say they were eaten before then!
My instinct and experience made me check all the labels, ingredients and allergy information for any possible problems. This has become second nature and was of course completely unnecessary. The process was made far easier by the design as all the ingredients information is on the front for people who need to know. All the ingredients were suitable for me (although some do contain soya). I have checked with Ilumi that milk free also includes lactose free and that gluten free also means wheat free. Their website has a fantastic range of options for excluding allergens or diet preferences including vegetarian and vegan.
The convenience of these products can not be overestimated. Earlier the same morning I had turned down lunch at a friends house as I felt awful about her having to prepare me a free from meal despite her being extremely good in the kitchen. With the arrival of my Ilumi parcel I rang her and asked whether she would like to share some new soups that would be great for both of us. They were even suitable and tasty for our young boys, each with their own food allergies/intolerance's. Now that doesn't happen very often!
I love the ethos of this company. They have spent 10 years creating healthier and tastier meals suitable for people on free from diets. The ingredients are all fresh and modern and come from British suppliers where ever possible. The way they work provides an emphasis on making meal options from ingredients you can have and the result are fabulous.
Find their wonderful website with support and shop here:
Here are my thoughts on the meals I have tasted so far.
Thai Chicken Soup
Very creamy with a great texture created by the rice. A lovely colour with interesting flavours and a luxurious feel. Not a great amount of chicken but this is a soup and retails for £1.75 (250g)which is a fraction of the price of non free from competitors and much tastier.
Lovely chunky consistancy with a fabulous smokey pancetta flavour through out the tomato base. There was much more chicken in this dish reflected in the price £3.25 (275g) and worth every penny.
Slow Cooked Lamb Casserole
Gorgeous aroma leading to a chunky portion of meat and vegetables in a plentiful gravy. A wonderful balance of flavours. £3.25 for 350g
Spanish Style Rice and Vegetables
Lovely depth of flavour increasing in spiciness provided by chunky vegetables in perfect, not over cooked rice. A large portion but retains heat til the last mouthful. £2.50 for 350g
Sweet Chilli Stir Fry
A mild, sweet flavour which builds with each mouthful through the ginger. A great consistency through heating and eating, never too watery or sticky. A little too strong in flavour for a toddler but great in small amounts. Just a shame to contain soya. £1.50 for 200g
Now what shall I order next :)