GlutenFreePSD

Product Reviews, Restaurant Reviews and Recipes: All GLUTEN FREE!

Judging FreeFrom Food Awards 2017: Ready Meals and TeaTime… (Including the Shortlisted Entries)…

As a Food Blogger, I am a keen lover of all that is GLUTEN FREE and contribute to the FreeFrom Food Awards as well as judging the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards. These awards are the UK’s only industry awards for FreeFrom foods by FoodsMatter set up to encourage innovation and celebrate excellence in the FreeFrom food industry. The awards are entirely independent, supported by sponsorship and entry fees only. As a blogger, with a focus upon Chocolate (Chocolate Bars, Chocolate Bags and Chocolate Boxes), as well as enjoying travelling and eating out, it was great to be part of the team tasting a wide variety of entries for the 10th Anniversary competition.  So alongside the judging of Desserts and Puddings, as well as Confectionery, I am also looking forward to the Free From Eating Out Award ceremony later in the year, I also judged Ready Meals as well as TeaTime…

READY MEALS: Occasionally, I feature a one of my own recipes on my Blog, but I confess not to be the greatest cooker and therefore, I do rely on Supermarkets and Retailers to provide me with the basics for dinners. Therefore, it seemed both interesting to find new products (entered into the Ready Meal class) as well as contribute my taste buds to this category for the first time.

Surprising the number of dishes that we had to try as part of this category. Most had to be heated up with supporting people organising the continual supply of hot dishes for our review and judgement. It varied from fish fingers to cook-in-the-bag pasties, chicken & bacon Pasta heated in the oven  to curry meals heated in the microwave. The instructions from manufacturers were followed so that each product was at the optimal temperature and recommended cooking method.

Several sausages were entered into the Ready Meal category which suggests that this may become it’s own class at some point. A great variety was enjoyed including a very sweet sausage which included pork belly and maple syrup to add sweetness to the pork filling as well as a rather unusual Coronation Chicken sausage. This had the kick of curry alongside the clean taste of chicken which I found to be both different as well as rather lush. This wasn’t universally felt and we had some debate around sausages when it came to awards. And one of the sausages was made with Ostrich meat: it tasted like chicken!

We also tasted several burgers, which varied in size, added flavours and intensity. One was made of Buffalo meat which was very gamey, a strong rich flavour as well as more traditional beef burgers. Some of my personal highlights included:

These Fish Fingers had a good crunchy topping as well as soft delicious fish filling.

These Fish Fingers had a good crunchy topping as well as soft delicious fish filling.

A ready made pasty which cooked in a bag in the oven. The pastry was well filled and the pastry tasted fresh.

A ready made pasty which cooked in a bag in the oven. The pastry was well filled and the pastry tasted fresh.

This Beef Casserole came complete with Dumplings which was a real unusual treat. It was light and airy and had a good seasoned sauce.

This Beef Casserole came complete with Dumplings which was a real unusual treat. It was light and airy and had a good seasoned sauce.

Several Ready Meal Chicken Tikka Meals with separate rice, thick sauce and well-flavoured chicken.

Several Ready Meal Chicken Tikka Meals with separate rice, thick sauce and well-flavoured chicken.

One of the many sausages we enjoyed.

One of the many sausages we enjoyed.

The winners and awards will be presented at the Royal College of Physicians at the end of March 2017 so I can not share with you the Winners, Highly Commended and Commended entries but be reassured that after much deliberation, discussion and debate, the FreeFrom Awards will recognise some great Ready Meals for 2017. And the shortlist has been released, so check these excellent Ready Meal providers:

Meaty and Fishy Ready Meals – Sponsored by Mrs Crimbles

  1. Asda Breaded Gluten Free Chicken Breast Fillets
  2. Asda Gluten Free Quiche Lorraine
  3. BigFish Salmon Fillets Marinated in Piri Piri Sauce
  4. Bird’s Eye Gluten Free 10 Fish Fingers
  5. Debbie&Andrew’s Coronation Chicken Chipolatas
  6. Doherty’s Gluten Free Meat Balls
  7. Kezie Buffalo and Mushroom Burgers
  8. Kezie Ostrich Sausages
  9. Oh So Lean Low Fat Smoked Maple Steak Burger
  10. Pure Free From Dairy & Gluten Free Chicken Tikka Masala
  11. Slightly Different Foods Sweet Quebec Sausages
  12. Tesco Free From Chicken and Bacon Pasta
  13. Tesco Free From Beef Casserole and Dumplings
  14. Tesco Free From Chicken Tikka Masala with Pilau Rice
  15. The Black Farmer Premium Pork Chipolatas
  16. Wiltshire Farm Foods Apetito Free From Chili con Carne

A great selection of Meaty & Fishy Ready Meals for 2017.

TEATIME: Another new category for me to judge was “TeaTime” which I imagined would include cakes (rather than desserts and puddings) and some sweet (and possibly savoury) biscuits. Now these are a stable part of my diet so I felt I could contribute to this Class of the competition. After having a morning of eating Ready Meals (as above), it was quite exhausting to have so many cakes to sample.

The cakes varied from whole cerlebration cakes which were quite expensive as a whole but very large and would feed a party /dinner party to smaller packs of individual cakes such as muffins, some with rich zesty fillings (such as Lemon Curd or Triple Chocolate with pieces of Chocolate as well as a runny Chocolate Ganache). We also tried a few Tray Bakes which were rather tasty and I rather enjoyed my first taste of Treacle Tart: a cake I’d never had before but will definitely be trying again!

And lots of biscuits including several variations on the traditional shortbread, some very buttery to others which were quite chalky and hard. Other biscuits included snappy ones which were thin and quite exotic to a savoury cracker made from Coconuts (which actually could be used with both sweet toppings as well as savoury ones as it was fairly neutral). It was a delight but after all those cakes, and the Ready Meals, I certainly had my fill of biscuits. Some of the highlights for me included…

Lovely sweet and sticky Treacle Tart with a hint of citrus.

Lovely sweet and sticky Treacle Tart with a hint of citrus.

Banana and Chocolate Loaf with a soft light sponge and real banana on top.

Banana and Chocolate Loaf with a soft light sponge and real banana on top.

Good solid slices of a Victoria Sponge with a great buttercream and jam filling.

Good solid slices of a Victoria Sponge with a great buttercream and jam filling.

A great Gin and Tonic cake which had to be tried several times to validate the taste of the cake.

A great Gin and Tonic cake which had to be tried several times to validate the taste of the cake.

A dark Chocolate Rum cake with a strong smell and flavour.

A dark Chocolate Rum cake with a strong smell and flavour.

A gorgeously buttery shortbread.

A gorgeously buttery shortbread.

A healthy seedy biscuit with lots of goodness and healthy bits.

A healthy seedy biscuit with lots of goodness and healthy bits.

Another crunchy thin biscuit with a good kick of flavour

Another crunchy thin biscuit with a good kick of flavour

So lots of special TeaTime treats tasted and judged to be Commended, Highly Commended and /or the overall Winner. I will not reveal these as they will be announced at an event later in March 2017 but the shortlist includes:

Tea Time! – Sponsored by Romer Labs

  1. Against the Grain Almond Cookies

  2. Asda Free From Stem Ginger Cookies

  3. Deans Gluten Free Choc Chip Shortbread

  4. Flower & White Lemon Curd Muffins

  5. Ginger Bakers Lemon & Polenta Traycake

  6. Gingerella Dairy & Gluten Free Chia, Pecan and Pumpkin Seed Cookie

  7. Gingerella White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookie

  8. Kelkin Gluten Free TeaCakes (Chocolate Flavoured)

  9. Le Pain des Fleurs Coconut Crispbread

  10. Lovemore Decorate Your Own Celebration Cake

  11. Marnie Searchwell Carrot & Coconut Cake

  12. Marnie Searchwell Reine de Saba

  13. Mummy Bakes Gin & Tonic Loaf Cake

  14. Mummy Bakes Sweet Scones Selection Box

  15. Mummy Bakes Treacle Tart

  16. Prewett’s Chocoful

  17. Prewett’s Rich Triple Chocolate Cookies

  18. RooBar Kookie Cat Vanilla & Choc Chip Cookies

  19. Rhythm 108 Foods Ltd Chocolate Hazelnut Tea Bread

  20. Sainsbury’s Salted Toffee Shortbread

  21. Sponge Cakes Ltd Apple Crumble Sponge

  22. Sponge Cakes Ltd Victoria Sponge

  23. The Conscientious Cook Cashew Butter Blondies with Ginger and Coconut Blossom Syrup

  24. The Free From Bakehouse Banana and Chocolate Chip Loaf

And at the Awards Ceremony, in celebration of 10 years of the FreeFrom Food Awards, a new publication will be released to mark the occasion and share the history of the awards. I am sure this will also provide some useful insights into how the winners are decided and the story of some of the winners which are truly inspirational.

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