During #OrganicSeptember we’ve been taste-testing a whole host of organic foods here at Bangers & Mash HQ. Here’s a round-up of our favourites…
Riverford Organic Veg Boxes
Before we go any further, I’d like to start with an old favourite. We’ve been getting a weekly veg box from Riverford for several years now – except for a few weeks over the summer where we concentrate on our own veg from the garden. We go for the standard medium-sized veg box, which is perfect for a family of two adults and two children, and when we need to we’ll occasionally add to this with extra fruit, meat and dairy items from Riverford’s comprehensive online shop.
The produce is of fantastic quality and I love the really useful recipe cards you receive in every box. There’s also an insightful and thought-provoking weekly article from Guy Watson, who started growing organic veg in 1986 on his family farm in Devon and set up the Riverford veg box scheme in 1993, delivering to local friends and families.
Prices start from £10.35 for a small veg box. www.riverford.co.uk
Kromland Farm Rooibos Teas
Kromland Farm has been cultivating rooibos since 1902, but South Africa’s indigenous Khoisan people have been enjoying its wonderful flavour for millennia. Apparently it was a Khoisan farmer who originally shared with Kromland Farm the secrets of this soothing tea, and they’ve been making it to the same recipe ever since.
Kromland’s organic rooibos now comes in a range of flavours, but personally I can’t get enough of the caramel and raspberry varieties. The caramel rooibos is serenely sweet without being sickly, while the raspberry is beautifully fruity and slightly tart – I recently used it to flavour a panna cotta. And of course, both are naturally caffeine free.
£2.49 for 40 teabags. Available in Whole Foods, Planet Organic and other health food stores. www.kromlandfarm.co.uk
Amy’s Kitchen Organic Soups
Amy’s Kitchen was first set up by Rachel and Richard Berliner 20 years ago, who began making and freezing vegetarian, vegan, gluten and dairy-free meals to ensure their baby daughter, Amy, would have something delicious and wholesome to eat when they were busy at work.
Their organic soups taste about as homemade as I reckon you can make a tinned soup taste and are perfect to have in the cupboard on standby for those days when you just have no time to cook but need something warming and nourishing. My family’s favourite is the Hearty French Country Vegetable Soup, absolutely packed with tasty vegetables, long grain red rice and herbs.
Princes range from £1.40 to £1.80. Available at most supermarkets including Asda, and health food stores. www.amyskitchen.co.uk
Dr Karg’s Crispbreads
Eating crispbreads can all too often be like a cross between eating cardboard and carpet, but these organic crispbreads from Dr Karg are a million miles from all that. I could honestly eat an entire packet in one sitting – and topless at that. The crispbread that is, not me. I’ve been consuming vast quantities of the Classic 3-Seed and the Emmental Cheese & Pumpkin Seed varieties lately, with a supply in my top drawer at work in case I get the munchies mid-afternoon. Deliciously crunchy and very, very moreish.
Around £2.00 for 200g. Available at Sainsbury’s, Ocado and health food stores. www.dr-karg.de
Lovechock – Almond & Fig
This gorgeously chunky bar of chocolatey goodness was an impulse buy the last time I was in my local health food shop in Frome. It had been a long day and I needed a little something to give me a boost until supper time. And boy did this bar, chock full of almonds and figs, give me the delicious lift I needed.
Lovechock bars are made from raw chocolate, not roasted but cold ground beans, using the best cacao from Ecuador. The ingredients are 100% organic, sweetened with coconut blossom nectar, and are completely milk, soy and gluten-free. What’s more, each bar is lovingly made by hand.
That’s why it’s not cheap chocolate. My 40g bar cost £2.69, but I’d definitely recommend it as an occasional treat. See www.lovechock.com for stockists and other flavours.
Sunita Sesame Spread with Cocoa
If you like tahini, you’ll love this. If you like your chocolate spread super sweet, you probably won’t. Personally, I am very, very partial to this stuff. Spread thickly on a piece of hot toast with a cup of caramel rooibos tea (see above), this is my idea of heaven.
Around £4.30 for a 300g jar. Available from health food stores. www.sunitafoods.co.uk
Ombar Coco Mylk Buttons
If you’re looking for dairy free, vegan friendly chocolate these new ‘mylk’ chocolate buttons could be the answer. Made from raw, organic cacao from Ecuador and sweetened with organic coconut palm sugar, sustainably sourced from independent farmers in the Philippines, these buttons are tempting little bursts of creamy sweetness. I shared a packet with my friend Janey, who’s recently switched to a vegan diet. Janey reckons these are the best dairy free, vegan chocolates she’s managed to find so far.
Around £1.49 per packet. Available at Planet Organic, Wholefoods and independent health food stores. www.ombar.co.uk
Kallo Belgian Dark Chocolate Organic Rice Cake Thins
Yes, I know rice cakes are normally as tempting to eat as a polystrene coaster, but these I promise you are good. Especially if you’re looking for a low-cal snack to sate that craving for something sweet. Lovely light rice cakes smothered in good quality dark chocolate, and just 55 calories a go.
Around £1.50 for a 90g packet. Available in most supermarkets and health food shops. www.kallo.com
Despite eating these incessantly throughout my second pregnancy to help with morning sickness, these will always be my favourite brand of oatcakes. Crunchy yet crumbly with a rough oaty texture, they’re the perfect carrier for a good mature Cheddar or, in this case, an organic Wensleydale. They’re equally good with peanut butter too for a midnight snack. Oh, and they’re now enriched with oat bran too for an extra fibre hit.
Available in most supermarkets and health food stores. Around £1.09 for 250g. www.nairns-oatcakes.com
Steenberg’s Organic Rose Sugar
This rose sugar is oh so heavenly. Just open the jar and, with one whiff of the contents, you’re transported to an English summer rose garden. It’s lovely sprinkled onto fruit salads, and my oldest daughter enjoys it on her pancakes with a squeeze of lemon.
£2.25 for 120g. Visit the website for stockists. www.steenbergs.co.uk
Clearspring Snack Organic
Clearspring has added three new varieties to its popular Snack Organic range, featuring tamari roasted soya beans and perfect for anyone avoiding wheat and gluten. They are flavoured with Clearspring’s organic tamari soya sauce, naturally fermented and aged in cedar kegs over two summers. I really like the tomato and herb variety, which has a beautifully deep, salty, savoury flavour. Great as a snack or as a topping for salads and noodle dishes.
99p per pack. Available in health food stores and independent retailers. www.clearspring.co.uk
Heinz Organic Tomato Ketchup
For years, I’ve bought supermarket own-brand ketchups but this month I find myself converted to good old Heinz. But not just any old Heinz – their organic version. It’s such good ketchup, I think I’ll be getting through as much of this stuff as the kids do. It’s richer and deeper in tomato flavour than most other ketchups, and doesn’t seem to be quite as sweet either.
£2.40 for 580g. Widely available at most supermarkets. www.heinz.co.uk
Yeo Valley Lemon Curd Yoghurt and Rachel’s Low Fat Rhubarb Yoghurt
Our fridge is always well-stocked with yoghurts; we get through vast quantities of it here at Chez Bangers. Our favourite brands are both organic and our current flavours of the moment are Yeo Valley’s Lemon Curd (around £1.50 for 450g or buy 2 for £2) and Rachel’s Low Fat Rhubarb (currently £1 for 450g). Thank goodness they’re both on ‘spesh’ so often at Sainsbury’s as they don’t last long in our house.
Pertwood Farm Organic Muesli Fruit & Seeds
My final organic thumbs up goes to Pertwood Farm’s very tasty muesli, rammed full of delicious dried fruits and seeds including sultanas, apricots, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, along with a blend of oat, rye and barley flakes. It’s a little on the crunchy side which makes it an ideal topping for fresh fruit and yoghurt, or you can soak it in milk or fruit juice (I leave it overnight) to make your own bircher.
Around £2.70 for 650g. Available at Sainsbury’s and health food stores. www.pertwood.co.uk
What are your favourite organic products or brands? Have you made any new discoveries during #OrganicSeptember?
Disclosure: I was sent complimentary product samples from Clearspring, Nairns, Ombar, Kromland Farm and Amy’s Kitchen for review purposes. I receive plenty more products that don’t get a thumbs up, and therefore don’t make it anywhere near the blog. No money exchanged hands and all opinions expressed are my own.