Since starting my dairy/gluten free ‘diet’ (I hate that word, but not sure what else to use in the context) back in April, I’ve had to completely overhaul my kitchen and make every single dish from scratch.
I’ve discovered flavours I never thought I’d love (I used to hate tomatoes, now I eat them with almost every meal – who knew) and really enjoyed getting creative with what I make, however now that I’m back at University and busy with final year work (the dreaded dissertation is coming up), I do find that I often don’t have the time to whip up healthy gluten and dairy free meals right from scratch. And when I do have the time, I’m usually too exhausted to make anything fancy – meaning that two of my recent meals have included a plate of cucumber, tomatoes and smoked salmon. Mmm… (not).
So, when I came across Kirsty’s, I felt a little bit silly. I’d been struggling all along, despite the fact that my answer was already out there. With a keen focus on creating flavoursome, delicious dishes (which can be microwaved but don’t contain any nasty chemical based ingredients) – the brand also ensures that everything is suitable for us dairy-free/gluten-free eaters. In other words, it’s a winning combination!
As I knew that many of you are also dairy/gluten free and struggle to find meals to make – especially quick and easy ones, I thought it would be interesting to collaborate with Kirsty’s and review a couple of their specialities. I’m a very fussy eater and usually when it comes to dining for my intolerances, I’m fairly limited. So I figured if they passed my taste tests, then you’ll hopefully love them too.
I chose four dishes from the range, two from their adult selection and two from their smaller range aimed at children. In both cases, the meals are less than 400 calories – which although isn’t the main focus of why I was planning to tuck in, it was reassuring to know that they weren’t packed with naughty stuff. They are to be enjoyed guilt-free, which is certainly a bonus.
The first on my list was the tasty sounding sausage and sweet potato mash combo, with a side helping of onion gravy. I haven’t had sausage and mash for about a year now, simply because the mash potato always had tonnes of dairy in and sausages tend not to be gluten free. So, my excitement and expectations for this dish were sky high. Luckily, I wasn’t disappointed.
The sweet potato mash wasn’t stodgy (like many microwave meals can be) but really light, fluffy and full of flavour – made even better when teamed with the thick onion gravy (another thing I can’t usually enjoy). The sausages weren’t the best gluten-free ones I’ve ever had (admittedly) but as a whole, it made for a fantastic lunch and I savoured every bite. It took me five minutes to heat up in the microwave (usually, I have to spend a good half an hour chopping and peeling ingredients and another 20 minutes cooking) and was thoroughly enjoyed.
Next on the agenda was the Spanish Chicken with Brown Basmati Rice, which I had for dinner one evening. I absolutely love chicken in paprika/tomato sauces – so again, I had high hopes – and luckily, I wasn’t let down either. Rather than being flat and flavourless, like many other ready meals – this had a fresh, strong flavour and wasn’t watery in the slightest. The sauce was delicious when mixed in with the rice and the chicken was tender, with the same smokey taste of paprika.
All meals can be chilled or frozen, whatever suits you best – and they’re super handy to pop into your handbag if you’re going somewhere you know won’t be able to cater for you last minute (like a family dinner/friends house).
So, there you have it. I know ready meals are a bit of a strange thing to review on my blog – as it’s not something I’d normally talk about however since it’s very rare to find an entire range which caters for us dairy-free and gluten-free eaters, I wanted to pop something up about it!
I haven’t been paid to talk about them nor have I been asked to write a positive review, I just genuinely really enjoyed the flavours – and appreciate that it’s different to balance both having intolerances and a busy work/life schedule. I wouldn’t ever endorse having ready meals every day, as I do still think it’s important to cook food fresh and make it yourself (so you know exactly what’s in it – and can get creative with flavours) however sometimes, you do need a quick fix – and if it can be a tasty one that caters for your intolerances too, then so be it!
Have you tried the range from Kirsty’s? Do you find it difficult to eat gluten/dairy free if you have a busy work life?