A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be sent a sample of goodies courtesy of a new gluten free brand called Ilumi. I’d heard a lot about the brand through Twitter, but I first heard about them in the Summer edition of Coeliac UK’s Crossed Grain magazine. After seeing them at the Allergy & Free From Show, I was even more excited about trying their products!
Here’s a little bit more about Ilumi, taken from their website:
‘At Ilumi, we’ve created our range of foods based on two simple principles: top-notch cooking, and expert knowledge about allergens. When you add in our modern and efficient packaging, the final result is a perfect fusion of pleasure, wellbeing and convenience for you to savour’.
Ilumi have their own allergen promise that every product will be nut, gluten and milk free, and I must admit this did make me question how good the products would taste, but it’s fair to say I was pleasantly surprised :).
In my sample box I received: Tom Kha Gai Soup, Slow Cooked Lamb Casserole, Sweet Chilli Stir Fry Sauce, Chicken Cacciatora and Spanish Style Rice and Vegetables.
I think the sample contained a nice array of products, some of which would have been ones I’d have chosen myself, as they looked great on Ilumi’s website.
There were two types of packaging with my Ilumi products, with some in trays and some in pouches. Each pouch is filled with ‘100% natural ingredients, specially selected to create recipes you’ll love every time. We simply seal and gently pressure-cook them until perfect. The flavours are locked in until you’re ready to simply heat and enjoy them, in nor out of your home’. This means that the products have very long shelf lives (most of mine have been one year) and as they don’t need to be kept in the fridge they’re the perfect ready meal!
Each product serves 1 person and the packaging provides clear cooking instructions (normally 2 or 2 1/2 minutes in the microwave). Ingredients are clearly listed on the front of the packaging and any additional serving suggestions are also shown (ie ‘add rice for a complete meal’).
The first product I tried was the Thai Chicken Soup. I normally stick to plain flavoured soups such as tomato or leek and potato, so this was a little bit ‘out there’ for me flavour wise, but I absolutely loved it!
The main ingredients of this product are: coconut milk, water, tomatoes, marinated chicken, creamed coconut and brown rice.
My only issue with the product, and the pouch products in general, is that they’re too tall for my microwave, so although there is an easy tear option at the top of the pouch, I have to cut a little further down. This did make me concerned that there may be a soup explosion in my microwave, but all was fine, and the other pouch products have been fine too :).
Although the product was a little spicy (if you read my blog regularly you’ll know I’m not great with spice), but I could just about manage and I think it was actually beneficial (I never thought I’d be saying that!).
The chicken chunks in the soup were very generous and overall I loved the product! 🙂
Next up was the Spanish Rice & Vegetables which would have been one of the products I’d have chosen myself, as it looked like a great flavour combination.
The main ingredients of this product are: butternut squash, water, yellow pepper, red pepper, onion, tomatoes and brown rice.
Following a little bit of leakage whilst in the microwave, once heated I had a problem peeling back the film lid and the white layer actually ended up separating from the clear layer below, so I needed a bit of knife assistance to get into the product.
Although this product is lovely, it did unfortunately break me on its spiciness. Having looked on the Ilumi website, this product has a medium chilli rating and the soup had a mild rating, so I know that I should probably avoid medium rated products in the future.
Again, this product would have been one that I’d pick myself, as the combination of ingredients sounded great. The main ingredients of this product are: marinated chicken, tomatoes, water, onion, red wine and pancetta.
This product is part of a main meal and the packaging suggests that you add rice to it to make it a complete meal, so that’s exactly what I did.
I had reservations about this product as soon as I added it to my rice as it was very watery and not very appealing to look at. However, on trying it, it was really nice and again there were some chunky pieces of chicken, although it may have made for a more attractive first impression, if they’d been smaller chunks, as it may have made the product looked less watery.
I absolutely love lamb to the extent that it’s my favourite meat, so I certainly had high expectations for this meal!
The main ingredients of this product are: lamb, potato, water, carrot and onion.
The first thing to mention with this tray product, was that I had no problems with the film lid this time, so I think the earlier issue must have been a one off.
The best thing about this meal was there was a lot of meat and it smelled amazing! This product was advertised as a complete meal so didn’t need anything to be added to it, but I wasn’t sure I agreed, so I chose to add a portion of rice to it and thought it tasted great. This product definitely has a big thumbs up from me!
The only product I haven’t yet had from the sample box is the Sweet Chilli Stir Fry Sauce, but as its chilli rating is mild, I’m hoping I’ll be ok with it.
Overall, these products are very convenient, very tasty and just generally amazing! I appreciate that they probably sound too good to be true and I wondered if there was something I was missing, but they really are an ideal ready meal for anyone on a gluten free diet!
I’ve already placed two further orders with Ilumi to try some of their other products and also to replace my favourite ones from the sample box. I must admit that my gluten free storage cupboard is now getting a little full, but to have products at hand when you’re late home from work or in a rush, that also last such a long time, is just great, so why wouldn’t you stock up?!
For more information about Ilumi and to see their entire range, you can visit their website (www.ilumiworld.com). The website is very easy to navigate and also includes really helpful ‘include’ and ‘exclude’ options if there is an ingredient you particularly do or don’t want in your meal.
You can also find out their latest news by following them on Twitter (@ilumiworld) or by checking out their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ilumiworld).
If you have any comments about this review or any additional comments you’d like to add, please feel free to comment below :).