Plant Based

ChicP - Houmous

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Houmous. It’s a food that dates back to as early as the 13thcentury in Egypt and something we at The Amazing Blog have devoured since it became a trend with the likes of Whole Foods. What we adore about this food is it makes a hearty and healthy snack that leaves you satisfied for hours unlike a bag of crisps. With our tastes for houmous in mind, we were interested to try two flavours from ChicP 

The company was founded by Hannah McCollum, who worked predominantly as a private chef, on the‘passionate commitment to reducing food waste’. All of ChicP’s five colourful houmous flavours are made with raw vegetables that were discarded due to their irregular shape or size. Supermarkets reject approximately 40 per cent of produce because of these qualities and nearly 1/3 of UK produce goes to waste because people don’t eat it. McCollum wanted to combat this with ‘houmous made from imperfect veggies’ to promote better choices for your health and the environment. 

We were drawn to not only the company’s ethos, but also the delicious taste of its houmous. This houmous is much lighter than any others we’ve tried and is creamy, satisfying, and flavourful. The first flavour we tried was the Carrot, Ginger & Turmeric  The spread immediately tastes like you’ve dipped a carrot into an ordinary blend of chickpeas, saving you the extra step of doing it yourself. While the carrot taste is evident, the ginger and turmeric follow after and linger yet don’t overpower. This flavour works splendidly as a dip, but we liked putting it over baked chicken and pasta. We felt the second one we tasted would be more suitable as a midday snack or sandwich spread. Herby is true to its name and has a strong veggie taste, as 16 per cent of the recipe is spinach and parsley. However, lemon juice concentrate, vinegar, and garlic purée increase the flavour’s depth and tastiness. 

The houmous here is vegan and contains no additives or added sugars. Carrot, Ginger & Tumeric and Herby also only have 113 calories (469 kJ) and 127 calories (526 kJ) per quarter pot, respectively, and are reasonably priced at £3 for 170g. Additionally, there are three other flavours available in ChicP’s collection: Beetroot, Horseradish & Sage, Chilli Pumpkin, and Banana Chocolate. You can purchase their houmous here, or at one of the retailers listed here.

Mindful Bites - Nut Butter

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Who doesn’t love a good snack? Yup and it’s generally naughty little things like crisps that are our bad habit at The Amazing Blog We have been looking to substitute this potato addiction with ‘good snacks’, which is where Mindful Bites comes in. Founded in 2014 by Stephanie Peritore, Mindful Bites aims to change the way people snack, not on empty calories but on protein rich butters ‘one bite at a time’ they want to promote intentional eating.  We are finding that Mindful Bites' Nut Butters are the perfect vegan and gluten-free solution to our snack cravings.

Mindful Bites is built on the company’s four pillars of mindful eating (Intention, Attention, Gratitude, and Pleasure) and these pillars are reflected in the Nut Butter. The thick and creamy texture of the product slowly releases delicious flavours, which allow you to savour what you're eating. The carefully selected ingredients, including a blend of superfoods and high-quality nuts, also have you actively thinking about what you put into your body. However, it's not just the tasty and nutritious flavours that have us drawn to the Nut Butter; it is the way it makes us feel after eating it. The plant-based protein, made with no added sugar or sweeteners and palm oil, is a game changer for reinvigorating yourself during a mid-afternoon slump. Spread sparingly on some oatcakes  (in our case) it is filling and delicious and has made our cravings disappear resulting in a better, more energetic mood here in the office.

We had the chance to try all four of their  Nut Butter flavours (Hazelnut & Berries, Brazil Nuts & Cacao Nibs, Almond & Maca, Cashew Nuts & Baobab). Our personal favourite was Hazelnut & Berries. It has a rich taste of hazelnut, not dissimilar to Nutella, but with a yummy hint of a berry flavour which stays gently with you. However, if you want a more intense chocolate flavour, we suggest trying Brazil Nuts & Cacao Nibs. While nut butter is traditionally eaten on toast or straight from the jar with a spoon (not so good for an office share!) Mindful Bites suggests adding it to a smoothie, porridge, or yogurt for a protein boost.

You can purchase a single jar (185g) of their Nut Butters here for £6.99 or a box of all four for £25 here.

By Sarah London- Bath Salts

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With the weather getting warmer, taking baths shouldn’t just be reserved for the colder months. Certainly a more cooling soak in the summer months never hurt. There is nothing more we like at The Amazing Blog than to have a relaxing soak after a session in the gym or an evening run. While we all love a good bath bomb or a therapeutic essential oil, some of us with more sensitive skin prefer something a little less harsh for our skin to completely relax. UK based skincare brand BY SARAH LONDON has developed their Bath Salts with completely natural and hypoallergenic ingredients, which is a winner for us! We recently reviewed their Organic Hair Oil here which we loved.

The multi-award winning BY SARAH LONDON was launched in 2017 by two sisters Sarah and Lauren after the latter was suffering from dry, sensitive skin during her recovery from leukaemia. After searching for skincare that was both effective yet non-irritating, Sarah then sought out to start her brand that was transparent, authentic and empowering. The sisters wanted to push this transparency and authenticity by pushing for the use of ethically-sourced, plant-based ingredients  in their products.  To take this one step beyond, BY SARAH LONDON is the only UK skincare brand that lists all ingredients on the front label of all their products including their Bath Salts. While BY SARAH London products are great for people with sensitive skin and eczema, they also recommend their products to people with all skin types especially those who are conscious about what they put on their skin.

Besides having no essential oils or fragrances, BY SARAH LONDON’s Bath Salts contains only three ingredients, making sure that sensitive skin is not irritated.  The hand-blended Himalayan Pink Salts, Dead Sea Salts and French Pink Clay all combine in an eco-friendly glass jar to calm and cleanse the body. To start soaking in the minerals, add a handful of the bath salt to your warm bath and enjoy for a minimum of 15 minutes. A 280-gram jar (£20) of the Bath Salts or a 50-gram pouch (£5) of the Bath Salts are currently available to purchase on the BY SARAH LONDON website here.

Fruits Of The Forage

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At The Amazing Blog, we love writing about brands that have adopted sustainable practices, especially food brands that have joined the fight against our current consumer-driven society. Fruits of the Forage, is one that has made it their mission to capture the ‘sustainable taste of the British landscape’ with their range of chutneys, jams, cordials, wines and beers which are made using less than conventional ingredients. Recently, they kindly sent us five of their amazing chutneys and chilli jams to try – and trust us, we were not disappointed!

Based in founder Freddie Throrneycroft’s hometown of Cheshire, Fruits of the Forage uses neglected fruits from abandoned British orchards and other wild British native plants in all their products. Chutneys, are widely used in South Asian cuisine, are made up mainly with a mix of vegetables, fruits and spices. Their tastes, spice-levels and textures can range as well depending on the concoctions of ingredients used. What we like about Fruit of the Forage’s products is that they have elevated jams and chutneys contain less-known ingredients such as Cheshire Damsons, heritage plums and even Hogweed seeds.

After trying their Hogweed Curry Chutney, Hot Crabby Chilli Jam, Perfect Pair Chutney, Damsloe Chutney and Hot Rhuby Chilli Jam, we can see why Fruits of the Forage has won not one BUT 10 Great Taste Awards in the last three years! Each of the jams and chutneys have a delicious and very individual taste which will suit all sorts of different taste palates. The Hot Rhuby, is made out of rhubarb, garlic and ghost peppers, is a good mixture of warm and spicy and, like Fruits of the Forage and is indeed very moreish. If you’re craving a more fresh and fruity spread, the Hot Crabby Chilli Jam, made with crab apples, adds a sweetness to cured meats, lamb or game. Or perhaps you want to add a savoury kick to your cheeses and meat? Fruits of the Forage’s trio of chutneys (Hogweed Curry, Perfect Pair and Damsloe) are a great mix of fruits, vegetables and pickling spices and add a great piquante to any food. For our vegan readers, don’t worry, all of their products are entirely animal-product free. We particularly liked spreading some of the Hogweed Curry Chutney on our veggies to give them that perfect little kick – Yum!

If you want to try Fruits of the Forage’s chutneys and jams for yourself, purchase a jar on their website here for £4.