Before I start this review I must apologise for my lack of blogging of late. Having recently started a new job which involves a lot of travel, I haven’t had much time for blogging, but hopefully once I’m into the swing of things my blogging can go with me when I spend evenings away!
I first came across gluten free brand Freedom Deli at The Allergy & Free From Show in London back in June, when I bought one of their paninis at the end of the show. Although I’d been snacking on lots of freebies I hadn’t actually eaten properly and was starting to feel a bit unwell, particularly given the temperature in the building as well.
I purchased one of Freedom Deli’s ham and cheese paninis which they cooked from chilled and it tasted absolutely amazing – just like a ‘normal’ panini. I used to really enjoy paninis, much more than sandwiches, so this is definitely something that I’ve missed having since my diagnosis.
My only regret from the show was not buying more to take home with me, but given the long car journey ahead, I didn’t think they would survive :(.
If you don’t know much about Freedom Deli, here’s some more information about them taken from their website:
Freedom Deli was born because Angela was determined to find delicious, nutritious and convenient food which is gluten and wheat free.
For some, the transition towards a gluten or wheat free diet is a lifestyle choice. For others, it is the result of a wheat/gluten allergy or intolerance or IBS. Like Angela, many of you probably only became aware of coeliac disease after you, your child or a family member was diagnosed.
If you love quality food and are coeliac, have a gluten or wheat intolerance or you are following a wheat free diet then Angela’s products would be perfect for you.
Her mission is to make quality, 100% natural, delicious gluten and wheat free meals and snacks.
A few months ago, I ordered some products from Freedom Deli and I was very excited about reviewing them. Freedom Deli’s products are just the types of foods that I love to eat, so I was excited to try them out.
I ordered some Sausage Rolls, a Chicken & Leek Pie, a Tuna & Cheese Melt Panini, a Ham & Cheese Panini and some Eccles Cakes (which I’ve always loved!).
The thought of gluten free sausage rolls is something that really appeals to me, so I was really keen to try these. They would also be the first sausage rolls I’ve tried since my diagnosis – no pressure then!
The first thing to note with these sausage rolls is that pastry wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Although it’s described on the packaging as a ‘buttery pastry’, it tasted more like a shortcrust style pastry and not like a flakier style pastry that you would expect on a sausage roll.
However, this style of pastry was not a negative as it offered an alternative style sausage roll and the ‘outdoor reared pork’ contained within it tasted lovely. My only comment would be that maybe the pastry to filling ratio wasn’t quite right, as you can see from the photos above that the pastry was quite thick.
As much as I love these paninis, I seemed to have problems when cooking them from frozen. When both paninis were cooked for the recommended cooking time of 12 – 15 minutes, they were still cold in the middle. As a result, the cooking time had to be extended quite considerably and I also raised the temperature. As a consequence of this the paninis didn’t taste as good as they did at The Allergy & Free From Show, as they were cooked using a different method.
In addition to this, I personally don’t feel that the heating / usage instructions on the packet are very clear. There are instructions for combination oven / Merry Chef, convection oven and Panini grill all from frozen, but the from chilled instructions are only for a Panini grill. Does this mean that you shouldn’t cook them from chilled in an oven?
On the left is the Ham & Cheese Panini which looked great on the outside, but was cold on the inside and on the right is the Tuna & Cheese Melt after extended cooking time to ensure the contents were hot, but unfortunately the bread suffered as a result.
The contents of both products is great with a large amount of filling in both cases but unfortunately, due to the cooking issues, by the time the contents were heated through the bread was a little worse for wear. This was a shame as I know how good these products are when cooked correctly.
The Tuna & Cheese Melt Panini consists of tuna mayonnaise with sliced cheddar cheese and mozzarella and the Ham & Cheese Panini comprises Wiltshire ham again with the sliced cheddar cheese and mozzarella.
The other thing that felt slightly strange was cooking the panini in the plastic wrapper. Obviously it didn’t melt, but the concept of putting plastic in the oven just seemed a bit bizarre to me.
I would like to try these products again in the future to try to cook them properly and I will try to achieve this by grilling them in my ‘recently dug out of the cupboard’ George Foreman grill instead of in the oven, as I would hope that this would give a better result.
I was hoping to have tried Freedom Deli’s Apple Strudel, but unfortunately it wasn’t available when I ordered so I opted to try their Chicken & Leek Pie instead, as I’ve started to use chicken and leek in a lot of my own meals lately, so I thought I’d give this a go :).
The pie is described on the packaging as a ‘traditional chicken pie topped with buttery pastry and creamy leek sauce’.
The first to mention about this product is the amount of filling! There is a lot of chicken and leek in this pie which is great, and although it tasted great and the consistency was wonderful, it was just a little too peppery for my tastes. The pastry certainly seemed to flake more on the top compared to the sausage rolls, however the underside of the pastry seemed to collapse into the filling, which was a great shame.
Although there is still one product that I haven’t yet tried yet (the Eccles Cakes), I do believe that this is a great gluten free brand, but that some cooking issues have left me feeling a little below par with these products. I particularly feel this way about the paninis as I know that they can taste great, so like I said above, I would definitely want to try these again but use a different cooking method to see if the results are any different.
To find out more about Freedom Deli including when they are stocked, you can visit their website (www.freedomdeli.co.uk) and you can also find them on Twitter (@FreedomDeli).
Have you tried any products from the Freedom Deli range? Have you had different experiences to those detailed above? If so, I’d love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment below 🙂