What are they?
Handy, convenient ready meals or snack pots are everyone’s best friend on days where you need something extra quick, because you’re feeling like treating yourself to a lazy snack/lunch, or simply because you’re at work and are too rushed off your feet and don’t want to wait a million years to use the microwave! The lovely people at ilumi are pretty damn good at making them as easy and tasty as possible. All of their products are gluten free and milk free and have been creating them for nearly a decade in County Durham. They have a team of chefs and nutritionists who are very clued-up when it comes to allergens and knowing what is safe, whilst also tasting good. They create all of their own recipes and use only the necessary ingredients, with no nasty additives. What’s even better is that every batch of their food is tested by the team members before home delivery or shop exportation! Their key mission is to create delicious, flavoursome food that is convenient and trustworthy.
How do they taste?
ilumi kindly sent me a variety of their rice noodle pots and cheese sauce mixes to try out and review (honestly, as always). So here goes…
The noodles were great! The three flavours sent to me were:
- Vietnamese Beef Pho (spicy beef stock, red peppers, mushrooms, spring onion, leeks and coriander)
- Sweet Chilli (a classic sweet chilli flavour with a medium spicy kick)
- Tom Yum (spicy and fragrant sauce)
The Vietnamese Beef Pho flavour was definitely my favourite definitely, out of the two tried so far, because it was the most flavoursome and had a soy sauce taste (which normally isn’t really gluten free, unless you specifically buy it). It describes itself as spicy and I know that puts off some people, but it isn’t, just has a nice, mild kick! On the front of the pots, a ‘chilli pepper rating system’ is clearly displayed, indicating the strength of spices, out of three chilli peppers. This flavour had one chilli pepper, whereas the Sweet Chilli is two.
Bringing me on to the Sweet Chilli rice noodle pot, yum! Just because the other was my fave doesn’t mean this wasn’t tasty. I personally love anything Sweet Chilli flavour so this was another to add to the list! The chilli pepper rating must be pretty accurate due to this having a more noticeable kick, but not by LOADS or anything. Not only is it dairy free and gluten free, this flavour is also vegan and suitable for vegetarians.
I still am yet to eat the Tom Yum rice noodles due to being on holiday and wanting to savour the last one – but I can update this post once I have. This one is also suitable for people following a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.
Which flavour would you try first out of these three? Let me know in the comments below!
Now onto the cheese sauce mix. I’m usually a massive advocate for homemade sauces and mixes as they’re usually very tasty and better for you. However, the ingredients in this mix are purely for the product and no additives are added. As many of you may already know, it’s actually pretty time-consuming and involves medium effort to make a homemade cheese sauce. This one was super quick and easy to make (see cooking instructions below) and at first, I didn’t expect it to even turn thick but after a couple of minutes – literally! – it was done. I think it’s wonderful for people following a dairy free diet, as well as gluten free!
How do I cook them?
The rice noodle pots
SO easy to make. Simply empty the seasoning sachet over the noodle block, then use boiled water from the kettle and pour it to the fill line which is approximately 300ml (I always tend to fill it just a little underneath this line as find all instant noodle pots are normally quite watery, purely based on negative past experiences with them). However, this time I decided to fill exactly to the line to see what would happen. I was pleasantly surprised, they didn’t just looked like actual rice noodles with flavour attached to them in the end rather than a noodle watery soup. Once you’ve added the water, you need to replace the lid and leave to stand for 4 minutes. Once the time is up, stir well and then munch away happily (which I’m sure you will if you try them yourself).
The cheese sauce mix
Empty the contents of the sachet into a saucepan. Gradually, (I should’ve done this part a little slower!) add in 300ml of unsweetened dairy free milk or semi-skimmed milk and mix until smooth. Then, bring to the boil and stir continuously, followed by reducing the heat and simmering for 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened. I used normal cow’s milk but would think it tastes even better with dairy free milk considering it’s supposed to be a dairy free cheese sauce mix!
Trust me to get some of the mix on my hands!
I thought I’d be kinda creative and make a cheesy sausage and spinach pasta with other lovely veggies (let me know if you’d like the recipe). But you could use it for a cauliflower/broccoli cheese or in a pasta bake. It seemed quite versatile.
Where can I find/buy them?
You can find the rice noodle pots in Asda, Morrisons and Tesco.
As well as all products by ilumi being displayed here on their website.
I’m personally wanting to try their Kerala Chicken Curry because it sounds delicious and won an award at the Free From Awards 2014. Their Beef in Black Bean Sauce would also be great for a gluten free/dairy free Chinese night as it’s hard to come by for sure!
Thank you for reading this and I do hope some of you try out one of the products, or both if you’re feeling adventurous and like the sound of them! Remember the links to my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are below for more foodie photos and information!